One of the most important steps of a divorce is dividing a couples' financial and personal property. Whether it is retirement savings, the marital home, or even a family pet, the division of property can be one of the most contentious decisions that couples will need to resolve.
A skilled divorce attorney can ensure a fair division of the marital state you are entitled to in order to help build and maintain your new life.
At Statt Law, we are committed to protecting your rights throughout the divorce process. Our skilled team will work closely with you to protect your wishes and find an effective resolution to your divorce.
For help with equitable distribution issues in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg, call Statt Law today.
Marital vs. Separate Property
When dividing assets during a divorce, it is important to first identify whether an asset or a debt is marital or separate property. Marital property applies to those assets and debts that a couple accumulated during the course of their marriage.
Separate property refers to those assets and debts that a spouse had prior to the marriage or after the couple separated. It is also possible that some property acquired during the marriage, such as a gift or an inheritance, is also separate property.
Understanding Equitable Distribution
In Pennsylvania, courts, parties, or Divorce Masters divide marital property equitably, not necessarily equally, between both spouses. Unlike community property states, in Pennsylvania, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of your marital assets.
The courts and attorneys will weigh a number of factors when determining the final division of assets such as:
- The length of the marriage
- The income and assets of both spouses
- The parent who will serve as the primary caregiver of the children
All of these and more will impact the distribution of marital assets.
Preparing for Property Division
You can do a variety of things to get a head start on the process of eventually dividing your property. The measures outlined below can be used as a reference.
Create a list of all the property you both possess, whether you own it together or separately. When it is time to figure out who gets what, this will make things simpler. However, bear in mind that this is only the beginning, as an asset kept in the name of only one spouse can still be eligible for distribution.
When a couple begins to live "separate and apart," the courts in Pennsylvania declare them to be divorced. This indicates that the partners are no longer having intercourse. It helps if the partners don't show themselves as married in order to fulfill the "separate and apart" ideal. They don't go to public events as if they're already married, for example. To meet the separation criteria, spouses don't have to live in separate households, but living under the same roof can make it more difficult..
Under Pennsylvania law, property is classified as either "marital property" or "non-marital property." (Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Code of Statutes - Chapter 35, 3501.) The classification of an asset is crucial in the property distribution process. Marital property is usually subject to distribution, whereas non-marital property is not.
You'll need to calculate the value of each asset. Some properties, such as a bank account, are simple to value, but other forms of property can be difficult. Professional appraisers would almost certainly be used to determine the fair market value of houses, enterprises, and valuable personal property.
Our Firm Will Help You Develop a Plan to Secure a Fair Division
Working with a skilled lawyer who will advocate for your interests is critical. You may know some of what you are entitled to, however people often miss or forget assets. Our firm takes time to learn about your needs and develop a plan secure a fair division of assets on your behalf.
It is important to note that it is not necessary for a couple to have a court divide their assets. If both spouses largely agree on the division of assets, a Marital Separation Agreement can be reached and may be a great option. This saves time and money and helps couples to avoid a contentious courtroom fight.
Contact Our Harrisburg & Mechanicsburg Divorce Attorneys Today
No matter how simple or complex your divorce is, it is crucial to collaborate with a lawyer who is focused on your needs. We will diligently work to achieve a favorable outcome at an affordable price.
Speak with one of our attorneys today to learn how we can help you. Call our Harrisburg or Mechanicsburg office or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.