When my husband and I were engaged, I had finished business school and as a graduation present my parents gave me $50K to start my own business. We got married, moved into a Boston Metrowest suburb and started a family right away. My plans to start a business got put aside. The money has been in a savings account. Now we are getting divorced and he thinks he is entitled to half of this asset. I have a card from my parents saying how proud they are of me and that they are gifting me the money to pursue my dreams of having my own company. Will my husband be awarded half this asset?
The question is whether the $50,000 which you received before you married is a marital asset that is subject to division, now that you are getting divorced. Arguably, if you received the money before you married, that asset could be viewed as yours. But the longer you are married, especially with children, there is a counter argument that all assets are part of the marital estate. Therefore, the $50,000 might get split on a 50-50 basis, or any other percentage that you negotiate. The bigger issue that this problem presents is whether you are entitled to alimony, which means spousal support, and is a separate stream of income from child support. It is important that you had set aside your career to start a family while your husband pursued his career. The new alimony reform statute in Massachusetts addresses this. You might be able to receive some kind of short term alimony, such as rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony to give you a financial cushion to support yourself or start a new business in the period following your divorce. General term alimony, which is more open-ended, might be appropriate for a long term marriage. This would help to address the sacrifices that you made early in the marriage so that your husband could pursue his career.
The new alimony statute has guidelines on both how much alimony gets paid and its duration. In all cases, his capacity to pay alimony and your need to receive alimony are the primary criteria in awarding alimony. There are other important factors that affect alimony. Some of these include cohabitation with another person and retirement. These and other issues may be a trigger to modify or terminate alimony.
Attorney David Rubin is a Greater Boston Metrowest divorce lawyer and provides legal representation to clients in the Greater Boston Metrowest area including the towns and cities of: Ashland, Dedham, Framingham, Marlborough, Natick, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Wellesley and Worcester.
David L. Rubin, Attorney at Law
Greater Boston Metrowest Divorce Lawyer
929 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01701
Telephone: (508) 875-9797
Boston: (617) 451-0707
Fax: (508) 820-1560