What Will I Lose if I Get Divorced in Massachusetts?

Father losing custody of children

In a Massachusetts divorce, you may lose assets acquired during marriage and potentially separate property, as well. Debts could be divided. Child custody and support arrangements may impact time with children and financial responsibilities. Alimony may be awarded based on factors like length of marriage and financial situation. Legal fees and emotional strain are common.

Division of Assets

In Massachusetts, divorce follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning assets acquired during the marriage, and in some cases assets acquired before the marriage, are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. This includes:

  • property,
  • savings,
  • investments, and even
  • retirement accounts

accumulated during the marriage. However, certain assets, such as inheritances or gifts received by one spouse, may be exempt from division, but not necessarily. Factors influencing asset distribution can include:

  • each spouse’s contribution to the marriage,
  • the length of the marriage, and
  • economic circumstances.

It’s essential to work closely with your attorney to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of all marital assets and to advocate for a fair division that aligns with your needs and financial situation.

Allocation of Debts

Just as assets are subject to division, debts incurred during the marriage are also part of the divorce settlement. This can include:

  • mortgages,
  • credit card debt,
  • student loans, and
  • other financial obligations.

The court will typically allocate marital debts between spouses, taking into account factors such as who incurred the debt and the ability of each spouse to repay it. It’s crucial to address debt allocation during divorce proceedings to avoid unexpected financial burdens down the road.

Child Custody and Support

One of the most emotionally charged aspects of divorce is determining child custody and support arrangements. In Massachusetts, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child when making custody decisions, considering factors such as:

  • the child’s relationship with each parent,
  • their emotional and physical well-being, and
  • their educational needs.

Custody arrangements can vary, ranging from joint custody to sole custody, depending on the unique circumstances of each case.

Child support is also a critical consideration, with the court determining payment amounts based on factors such as:

  • each parent’s income,
  • the child’s needs, and
  • the custody arrangement.


Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be awarded in Massachusetts to provide financial assistance to a spouse who is economically disadvantaged as a result of the divorce. The court considers factors such as:

  • the length of the marriage,
  • each spouse’s financial situation, and
  • their contributions to the marriage

when determining alimony awards. There are different types of alimony, including:

  • rehabilitative,
  • reimbursement, and
  • transitional,

each serving a specific purpose based on the circumstances of the divorce.

Affordable Massachusetts Divorce Solutions

An affordable divorce is possible. At Afford Law, our fees are based on your income, so the less you earn, the less you pay. Our mission is to provide experienced legal help you can afford.

If you can’t afford our lower rates for a traditional attorney-client relationship, you have another option. Our legal coaching service can save you money and still give you access to a skilled attorney. In this arrangement, you represent yourself in court while we work with you behind the scenes to prepare you every step of the way. This service is available to you for one low monthly fee.


Navigating a divorce in Massachusetts can be complex, but with the right legal guidance, you can protect your interests and move forward with confidence. By understanding the potential outcomes regarding asset division, debt allocation, child custody and support, alimony, and legal fees, you can make informed decisions that pave the way for a brighter future. Remember, you don’t have to face this process alone. Reach out to an experienced attorney who can advocate for your rights and help you achieve a favorable outcome.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances and receive tailored guidance.

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