What Does “Equitable Division of Assets” Mean?

Posted by:

Ann Cascanett

In Massachusetts, upon divorce, the Court will equitably divide the parties’ assets, regardless of the source, if they cannot reach their own agreement.  However, equitable division of assets does not mean 50/50. It means a fair division of the assets based upon the following factors:

  • length of marriage
  • conduct of the parties during marriage
  • health
  • age
  • occupation
  • vocational skills
  • station
  • amount and sources of income
  • employability
  • estate
  • debts
  • needs of the parties, individually
  • each parties ability to acquire capital assets and income in the future
  • amount and duration of alimony
  • needs of dependent children
  • action of the parties regarding their respective estates during the marriage
  • contributions to the family unit as a homemaker.


It is imperative to remember that the Family Court has broad discretion on these issues and an Appeals court would only overturn a decision when it is PLAINLY WRONG. In Massachusetts, all assets are on the table.  That is all assets, inheritances, gifts, real estate, pensions, 401Ks, etc. that were received before and during the marriage. This applies regardless of whether the party kept it separate from marital property and assets that were received or obtained together during the course of the marriage.  It is also important to remember that the division of assets is a ONE-TIME event.  It cannot be modified such as alimony or child support later on when there is a substantial change in a parties’ situation or circumstance.

As you will not get a second bite at the apple it is imperative that you consult with a divorce attorney and disclose all information regarding each parties’ assets as early as possible.  The division of the parties’ assets will likely impact each parties’ quality of life and lifestyle following the divorce.  For questions or assistance regarding divorce, division of assets and other related issues contact us at info@cascanettlaw.com

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