An Important Part of the Process
If you are getting divorced in Pennsylvania, property division will be one of the most important issues you face. How assets and property are divided between spouses can have a significant impact on your life after divorce. In this blog post, we will discuss how property division works in Pennsylvania and what you can expect during the process.
In Pennsylvania, property is divided equitably in a divorce. This does not necessarily mean a completely even split but rather what is fair under the circumstances; however, it is not out of the realm of possibility to see property be divided equally between the spouses. The court will consider a variety of factors when making its determination, including:
each party's earning capacity
the duration of the marriage
each party's contribution to the acquisition of property
any prior marriages and whether they resulted in property division orders
the value of the property assigned to each party
the tax consequences of property division
any other factor that the court deems relevant
The court will then divide the marital property between the parties in a way that it believes is equitable.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
In order to determine how property will be divided during a divorce, the court will first need to determine which property is marital property and which property is separate property. Marital property is any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Separate property is any property that was acquired by a spouse before the marriage, or after the date of separation.
There are a few exceptions to this general rule. For example, if you inherit property during your marriage, that property may be considered separate property. Similarly, if you are gifted money from a loved one while you are married, then that money is considered separate property.
Note that this also applies to debt. If one party incurred debt prior to getting married, then that debt is separate and will not be divided between the spouses. If one spouse incurred debt while they were married, however, then that debt is marital and will be divided equitably.
Negotiated Settlement Agreement
The thought of not having control over how your assets will be divided may be a bit frightening; fortunately, more couples are working together to come to terms on a negotiated settlement agreement.
If you and your spouse are able to come to terms on a property division agreement, then the court will typically approve it. This is because the court prefers when couples are able to work together to come to an agreement that is fair for both parties. If you are unable to reach a property division agreement, then the court will make a decision for you based on the aforementioned factors.
Defending Your Right to Property in a Pennsylvania Divorce
Property division can be a contentious issue in a divorce. Each spouse may have their own idea of what is fair and what they are entitled to. It is important to have a clear understanding of the property division process in Pennsylvania before going into a divorce so that you can be prepared to defend your rights.
One key to defending your property is having a family law attorney by your side throughout the process. A family law attorney can help you understand the property division process and what to expect. They can also help you negotiate with your spouse to try to reach an agreement on property division. If you are unable to reach an agreement, your attorney can represent you in court and fight for you.
Do not go into a divorce without understanding how property division works and your rights. At Statt Law, our team will work with you to determine the best course of action throughout each step of the divorce process and will help defend your rights and get you started on your next chapter.
Learn more about divorce in Pennsylvania or schedule a consultation by calling us at (717) 537-0928 or by visiting our website.