Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Income sources may prove to be important during property division

If legal formality were the only thing needed when a Worcester couple files for divorce, ending a marriage would be very simple. However, in reality, divorce is often complex because of the emotions and different personal interests of the spouses, particularly when it comes to property division.

Ideally, property should be divided fairly between the spouses, yet the laws associated with property division often vary from state to state and case to case. In Massachusetts, identifying whether certain assets pieces of property were acquired before or during marriage is a critical aspect of property division.

Once the divisible assets and property are identified and accurately valued, equitable distribution between the spouses can move forward. At the same time, equitable distribution may only be achieved if both parties fully disclose their assets, properties and sources of income. Without transparency, it's difficult for the process to be truly fair.

Sources of income play a significant role in divorce proceedings. Income, or the capacity of a spouse to earn an income, is considered an important factor in child support settlements and spousal support. Yet income should also be closely examined during property division, especially if one spouse has unreported income from side jobs or a personally owned business. It is important for spouses to remember that cash from sources like these can be easily hidden without the knowledge of the other spouse.

A spouse should have knowledge of the financial flow of income and expenses in the household and of the other partner's business. This knowledge may be essential in the divorce in order to know if the information about the disclosed assets and properties discussed during the litigation process are accurate.

With this in mind, it is a good idea for divorcing couples in Worcester to consider working with an experienced family law professional to closely evaluate a couple's assets. In some cases, it is sufficient to look in places where assets are commonly hidden, but more complex cases could require additional resources to get an accurate assessment.

Source: Forbes, "What a Divorcing Woman Needs to Know about Her Husband's Cash-Based Business," Jeff Landers, Jan. 30, 2013

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