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I have been in this relationship for 5 years but married only 2, do I have any legal rights to property?

Hardwick, MA |

Will I be entitled to any assets, or spousal support?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Depending on various factors you certainly may be entitled to assets that were accrued or earned during the marriage. You may be entitled to a period of spousal support, agin depending on the specifics of your particular situation. You may want to consider divorce mediation, which would allow you and your spouse to meet with a experienced and qualified neutral professional to make decisions about your assets and living arrangements in coming to a comprehensive divorce agreement. You may want to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal rights.

    This answer is not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Tracy Fischer is a certified divorce mediator and attorney with offices in Newton and Danvers MA.


  2. Because of recent changes in the law the judge can consider the years of cohabitation in the division of marital assets and the consideration alimony. Generally everything brought or acquired in the marriage is considered the marital estate and is presumptively divided 50/50 and alimony is based on need, ability to pay, projection on future earnings, and the longevity of the marriage.

    That said yours is still a relatively short relationship and what will probably have more of an impact is the degree of economic integration that has occurred or not occurred during the past five years. For example, if one of you significantly changed position in reliance on the marriage (left a career to become the primary care taker of the children and/or primary homemaker for the household, and now find it difficult to reestablish yourself in the workforce). Another example would be if one of you worked extra hard (subsidized the other) so that the other could pursue a professional degree. Or, if one of brought significantly more to the marriage – one of you may have owned a home at the time and you may have maintained separate credit cards and bank accounts – even held property separately. All of these scenarios would suggest something of an offset to one side or the other and a move away from the 50/50 presumption, and perhaps provide limited alimony on a transitional basis to bring one party back into the workforce or equalize opportunity.

    However, if you marriage is like most: neither party bringing significantly more assets into the marriage than the other, both continuing to work and contribute to the household, holding property and debt jointly, and both leaving the marriage in good health – then you are likely to see a 50/50 spilt of assets and unlikely to see significant alimony.

    This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.


  3. There are a number issues involved. If you are concerned about asset allocation, I would hire a qualified family law attorney.

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