287 Appleton Street, Suite 208, Lowell, MA
(978) 453-1044



When getting divorced, the breakdown of a family is difficult and painful for everyone involved and dividing up your family’s property can run the gamut of emotions from confusing and stressful to frightening and emotional. Whether you own very little in terms of assets, or you have business interests, trusts, and significant inheritances, your property represents your hard work, your memories, your comfort, and your security. The uncertainty of the divorce process only exacerbates these emotions. You may have your hand on the pulse of what your marital estate is, or you may be completely in the dark as to what it encompasses. Armstrong Law, P.C. respects and understands the sensitive and all-too-often embarrassing circumstances giving rise to the breakdown of a relationship. In addition to the emotional aspects of a family's dissolution, there are many important legal and financial issues to consider. We take the time to listen and provide an objective assessment of your situation and provide you with legal advice based on our years of expertise. Our attorneys understand Massachusetts and New Hampshire divorce law, know the pitfalls, and will support and guide you through the legal process. We will safeguard your interests with responsiveness to your ideas, broad legal knowledge and attentive personal service from start to finish.

Equitable Distribution
At the time a divorce decree is entered, the Court may assign to either spouse, or transfer title, any or all of the property or the marital estate, or order any such property be sold to a third party. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are both “equitable jurisdiction” states. That means that your property is divided equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. In both Massachusetts (hyperlink to the statute) and New Hampshire (hyperlink to statute), much like a business partnership, the courts will consider a list of factors to determine what division of property is “fair” or “reasonable.” Some of these factors include:
  • Length of marriage;
  • Conduct of the parties during the marriage;
  • Age of parties;
  • Health of parties;
  • Station (economic status) of the parties during the marriage;
  • Occupation of the parties;
  • Amount and sources of income available to the parties;
  • Vocational skills of the parties;
  • Employability of the parties;
  • Estate (assets) of the parties;
  • Liabilities the parties;
  • Needs of each of the parties and children;
  • Opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income; and
  • The amount and duration of alimony, if any.
  • Contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates, whether financially or nonfinancial contributions (e.g. Time and energy spent taking care of the family home and children; and
  • Contribution of each of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit. 
Defining Marital Property
Under both Massachusetts and New Hampshire laws, “marital property” that is subject to division in a divorce includes all property “however and whenever acquired.” That means that the Court can divide any property owned by either spouse regardless of whose name it is in (title), and regardless of when it was acquired, i.e. property that one spouse owned separately, before the date of marriage, is considered marital property. Even gifts made to one spouse, or inheritances received by one spouse, are considered marital property. The argument for protecting any “separate” property comes with the balance of the statutory factors. The decades of experience at Armstrong Law, P.C. allows for creative arguments to be advanced on your behalf in an effort to protect any such “separate” property. 

Valuing Marital Assets
Marital assets are typically valued as of the date of dissolution (date of divorce). While it is easy to obtain the values of cash accounts, it is not as easy to value real property or a business. Many times you will need to hire an industry professional to provide an “expert” opinion of value for such assets. By way of example, a certified appraiser can provide a subjective opinion as to the value of your home. In the case of business valuation, you will need to hire an expert to do a “business valuation” who will review all the business records, speak with business personnel, and conduct site visits to arrive at a subjective opinion as to the value of any business.

Resolving Property Division Issues
While it may seem insurmountable that you could reach a full agreement with your spouse as to dividing your property, through the divorce process, and with the assistance of experienced professionals like Armstrong Law, P.C., the majority of cases are settled through negotiations. Only a small percentage of cases will proceed through a fully contested trial. Neutral third parties, including those who voluntarily provide their time as conciliators, are often able to think outside the box and assist the parties in working out their differences. Sometimes “just hearing it” from a neutral third party is enough to bridge the gap of dispute.

In those rare instances where no agreement can be reached, then the Court will need to make that determination. It is important to note that the Court can only make a binding determination after the presentation of evidence, which means, a full trial on the merits which includes testimony by both parties and any experts or other third-party witnesses. This process is incredibly lengthy, disjointed, and costly. Many times you will not have consecutive days of Trial and it is not uncommon to have such additional days be scheduled months apart. By way of example, a case could have a Trial date in June, another one in October, another one the following calendar year in January, and yet a final date in April of that year. After the conclusion of evidence, the Court will likely require “post-Trial submissions” from the parties. Then the Court will need to evaluate and weigh all of the evidence presented during the Trial phase. It is not uncommon for the Court to take several months from the conclusion of evidence and the deadline for post-Trial submissions to render a final Judgment of Divorce.

Getting the Help You Need
Having an experienced family lawyer like Armstrong Law, P.C. on your side can help you breathe easier when you’re going through the divorce process. We will counsel you, explain your rights, the process, and a range of outcomes you can expect. We provide dedicated, cost-effective representation that respects your emotional and financial investment in your marriage. We strive for an amicable, out-of-court resolution, but we’re ready to litigate to zealously defend your interests if needed. Armstrong Law, P.C. is located in Lowell, Massachusetts, and represents clients in all family law matters including high net worth divorce in the Massachusetts counties of Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Worcester as well as southern, New Hampshire. Please call us at (978) 453-1044 or contact us online (hyperlink) to schedule a consultation.
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