Spouses often split assets.

            Posted on Jan 10, 2016  

            Homemaker, breadwinner often split assets.

Q. During our 30-year marriage, my husband kept all our assets in his name. Now he wants to divorce me and claims I didn’t help earn a penny, so he will get to keep all the assets of his business and property.

I was a stay-at-home mother, caring for our four children, taking them to their pediatrician and other appointments, going to parent-teacher meetings, getting the kids to and from school, and so on. Can he kick me out without my getting anything?

IZ, Mission Hill

A. Massachusetts general laws, chapter 208, section 34 requires the judge, when dividing the martial assets, to consider the following factors: the length of the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

In addition, the judge can also consider the following factors: contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates and the contribution of each of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit.

The judge’s decision must indicate that he or she has weighted all these factors. Judges can give more weight to some factors. Usually the length of and contributions during the marriage are the two most important factors.

So on “length of marriage,” you are already on track to get about half of the net worth of the assets.

If the judge believes your claims, then the judge will likely find that your work as homemaker, mother, cook, and chief bottle washer is equal to what your husband did. Your care of the children let him concentrate on making money.
Now 30 years on, I think you’ll do just fine. However, you must hire an experienced divorce lawyer to be sure you get your proper share and alimony. Stay away from firms that are advertising on the radio and TV; no matter what they claim, those lawyers are not considered to be the best divorce lawyers.

If you are going to bet on the outcome of a horse race, be sure that animal has a super-good jockey.