I am sorry for the delay. I had unexpected guests arrive just after your second post. Thank you for the additional information.
The direct answer to your question is not clear cut. You may very well be able to keep your property, but a lot of that depends on how well you can negotiate and how willing she is to compromise. This is because Massachusetts is an “equitable distribution” State, as opposed to a community property state.
In "equitable distribution" states, settlements are meant to be fair, but not necessarily 50/50. The Court has broad discretion in dividing property if the parties do not come to a mutual property settlement agreement
. Also the Court can divide separate property (property brought into the marriage).
Even though the property is in your name, IF it was obtained during the marriage it is marital property
. Marital is everything acquired during the marriage regardless of whether one spouse bought it of if there is only one name on the title
This means that the property that you are concerned about is property that must be divided.
This does not mean that you will lose the property however. There is property that she has interests in and property that you have interests in. The best process is to find a way to negotiate a reasonable settlement in regard to dividing the property.
The longer you both fight about it, the more money goes to the attorneys and the less you have to divide. So hopefully you are both reasonable in your expectations.
There are other issues in play as well besides the property division
. Custody, visitation, temporary alimony
, and permanent alimony. Also you want to take all your property into consideration: assets, debts, retirement accounts, cars, etc. All these factors are points to negotiate.
Giving something on one point should balance off something on another point.
If you can not come to an agreed to settlement then the Court will decide on the division of the property. In determining how property will be divided, the court considers the following :
The length of the marriage.
The conduct of the parties during the marriage.
The age, health, station, and occupation of the spouses.
The amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability of each spouse
The estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
The contribution of each of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit.
The contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation and appreciation in value of their respective estates.
These articles will provide you more information on the issues that you will face:
Finally, you want to find a good local family law attorney who can help you navigate and negotiate this process. This site will help you find local counsel:
Massachusetts does have a significant amount of self-help information if you choose to do this with out counsel. While, that may not be advisable (especially if your wife hires counsel), here is information on how to proceed on your own:
I hope the information I have provided is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.
Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but it helps me greatly. Thank you.
If you are dissatisfied with my response PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you and only ask the same from you.
Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.
(Please do not forget to rate me. It adds nothing additional to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Plus it is good Karma for you. Thank you.)