How is property divided in Pennsylvania?

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Family Law on Thursday, July 9, 2015.

One of most contentious and worrisome aspects of divorce is property division. If you are considering divorce, going through divorce or are divorced, you may know this feeling well. What property will you get to keep? How will your accounts be divided? And what about debts?

In today's post, we hope to clear up a few things about asset division in Pennsylvania, so you can begin to assess your own situation and gain a better understanding of what your property division could look like.

Equitable Distribution

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. This means that property must be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Unlike community property states, equitable distribution states recognize that not all property owned by individual spouses is community property.

Separate Property vs. Marital Property

In Pennsylvania, any property you acquire during your marriage is considered marital property. This includes income, real property and other assets.

Property you acquired before your marriage is often considered separate property -- or the sole property of the spouse who acquired it originally. Separate property can become marital property depending on how you use it. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine whether certain property is marital or separate.

Dividing Your Assets

When it comes time to divide assets, you and your spouse have control of the outcome if you choose to negotiate through mediation or alternative dispute resolution. However, it is wise to have an attorney by your side to ensure you understand your rights and make choices that will best protect you in the long run.

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement and the court must intervene, the judge will consider several factors when dividing your property, including the length of your marriage, your total income and debts, your health and ages, and your ability to support yourself after the divorce.

We hope this overview of Pennsylvania property division law helps you better understand the road ahead of you. Of course, approaches to asset division vary depending on the amount and type of assets involved. To make sure you take the right approach for you, speak with an experienced attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Marital Property Laws," Accessed July 9, 2015


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