DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

February 28, 2013

Check the spelling before the tattooing starts

(Continued)

Divorce courts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts have authority to equitably divide all property of the parties, however or whenever acquired.

Courts look at the parties’ property as a whole and then make an equitable distribution. Whether property is individually or jointly owned, it is still considered a marital asset.

So, the answer depends on what else the two of you own. Distribution would be made in the context of all property, and the car accident settlement would be subject to review.

In one case, the N.H. Supreme Court looked at some fairly complex trusts that were drafted to “protect” various assets against a divorce. The court pierced the trusts and equitably divided the property, disregarding the trust instruments.

So, if sophisticated legal documents can be penetrated by a court of equity, your agreement is on the table.

Only in a jointly filed uncontested divorce, in which you both agree to all terms at that time, would the agreement then most likely go without review.

Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to andrew@attorney-myers.com.

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