You started a company, grew it, and sold it. You took the substantial proceeds of sale and invested them. Then you fell in love. You got married. Now you’re getting divorced. Your soon-to-be ex says he/she is going to take it all – or at least half. Is that possible?
In Massachusetts, the court may assign to one party in a divorce proceeding all or part of the assets of the other acquired prior to marriage. “In addition to or in lieu of a judgment to pay alimony, the court may assign to either husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other …” Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208, Section 34. The term “estate” encompasses all property to which a party holds title, whenever and however acquired, and includes property obtained by a party before marriage.
Whether the court will divide premarital assets, or their appreciation in value during the marriage, is dependent on the facts of the case, including the length of marriage, the parties’ respective contributions to the marital partnership, whether a spouse contributed economically or non-economically to the asset, and the parties’ ability to obtain future income and assets, among other factors.
So, yes, the claim can legitimately be made but whether it will be successful is dependent on the parties’ circumstances and, as always, the arguments made in court.