Massachusetts is an "equitable distribution" state and the marital property is divided in an equitable fashion. It may appear that the term Equitable means Equal but that is not the case. The term Equitable when used in this case only means that the division of the property is considered to be fair. The parties are advised by the court to reach a settlement on property and debt issues together. If they fail to do so the court will decide the division of the assets and allocation of the debt.
When the courts consider the division of assets they look towards the following:
- length of the marriage;
- the conduct of the parties during the marriage;
- age of the parties;
- health of the parties;
- station in life of the parties;
- occupation of the parties;
- amount and sources of income of the parties;
- vocational skills of the parties;
- employability of the parties;
- Liabilities and needs of each of the parties;
- The opportunity of the parties for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
(Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 1A and 34)