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How your assets can be divided during a divorce

When you decide to get a divorce, one of the things you'll need to do is to decide how to split your assets. If you and your spouse are on speaking terms and are amicable, it may be possible to work through your finances and other information to decide how to split your assets and debts. If you don't get along or can't work through the process, you may be able to work through mediation or allow a judge to determine the division of your assets.

In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse have the right to determine how to split your assets. If you have a prenuptial agreement, this may already have an outline for how to do so, which can help in tense situations. If you are able to write up a separation agreement, then the court will review it and judge it based on how fair it is. If it's acceptable, then the court will agree to what you've submitted and that division will take effect.

If you can't decide on how to divide your assets, then the court system may need to do it for you. Usually, this is something you'll want to avoid, but if you can't get your spouse to work with you on dividing your assets fairly, it may be the only option.

When the court works with you to divide your assets, the assets will be divided equitably. This doesn't mean equally, so be prepared to fight for the items you want to keep and to give up some less important things to make those arrangements. It can be good to have some idea of the assets you want to help you negotiate a division of assets that you agree with.

Source: Massachusetts Court System, "How Will Our Money and Things Get Divided?," accessed June 22, 2015

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