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Differing state laws can influence divorce outcomes

While most states distinguish between marital and separate assets during a divorce, Massachusetts is one of the few states that generally does not make this distinction. This is just one of many state-specific issues to consider when faced with the end of a marriage. There is not a national standard for matters such as alimony, timing or property division, which means that peoplemust be aware of the rules and implications in their state as they consider filing for divorce.

Divorce litigation can range greatly in terms of timing. Some states impose significant periods of waiting before the finalization of the action. The start of the waiting period can also vary from state to state. In some locations, the start of this period is at the time a spouse moves out of the marital residence. In other cases, the period may initiate with the actual divorce filing.

Spousal support is another issue that can differ based on the state that has jurisdiction. Alimony has been severely restricted in some states, and others only allow spousal support to be proportionate to the duration of the marriage. Attention to the property division phase could be particularly important for a spouse who is unlikely to receive alimony and who would exit the marriage with limited assets and career experience.

Because the state in which a divorce is filed plays such a critical role in the outcome, people owning more than one home might consider filing in the state with laws that are most beneficial to their needs. Sound legal advice could be important in such a situation.

A divorce lawyer may provide insight related to financial challenges that could be faced during litigation. In some cases, counsel might recommend divorce mediation to limit time in court and to facilitate a more cooperative approach to ending the marriage.

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