When a couple marries, all assets that they acquire throughout the course of their marriage, including any financial gains, are considered to be marital property. Even separate property – which is property that is acquired prior to marriage or assets which are gifted separately to either the husband or the wife is considered marital property and is subject to equitable division upon divorce. In a recent case in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court overturned a lower court’s decision, holding that assets held in discretionary trust are not marital property.
In today’s world, the vast majority of couples choose to live together prior to saying, “I do.” In fact, many couples may choose to live together for many years prior to getting married, collecting assets, sharing space, and perhaps even purchasing a home or having children together. This may be especially true for same sex couples who lived together without being allowed to marry or obtain a civil union prior to the change in law.