How do the guns in your household affect your divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2022 | Divorce, Property Division

If you are in an unfulfilling marriage, you may have made the difficult decision to divorce your spouse. Ending a marriage, of course, requires accomplishing a variety of tasks. For example, you may have to divide marital property, come up with a child custody arrangement, take care of your mental health and maybe even find a new residence.

As you know, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants Americans the legal right to own guns. Still, if you have firearms in your household, you may have some additional concerns during your divorce. You may also have extra gun-related tasks to complete.

Is your safety an issue?

Your first concern is undoubtedly your physical safety and the safety of your children. After all, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, guns play a role in nearly 55% of domestic violence homicides.

If you think your soon-to-be ex-spouse may use a firearm to harm you or your children, you may need to relocate to a safe house. You may also want to explore obtaining a protective order. Either way, your spouse’s propensity for violence is likely to interfere with your divorce.

Who keeps the guns?

Even if you do not have to worry about your husband or wife turning a gun on you, you must think about the future of any guns that are part of your marital estate. In Massachusetts, divorcing spouses usually receive an equitable share of marital assets.

If you and your husband acquired your guns during your marriage, they are probably marital property. This is likely true regardless of the name that appears on the registrations. Therefore, like the other assets you jointly own, you may have to split up the guns.

Ultimately, because you may have to jump through some hoops, it is advisable to negotiate ownership of your firearms early in the divorce settlement process.