One of the most contentious issues for a divorcing couple is the division of their shared assets. As such, it’s essential to understand how Pennsylvania handles these issues. The following blog explores what you must know about the distribution of marital property and why it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of Pennsylvania family law attorneys when you are going through a divorce.
What Constitutes Marital Property?
Marital property includes any assets obtained by either spouse during the marriage. This includes income, property, debt, and investments, among other assets. It does not matter who is the recipient of this property, as it is considered the property of both spouses. One exception to this rule is that any inheritance given solely to one spouse during the marriage that is not commingled with other assets will remain separate property during a divorce.
The distinction between marital property and separate property is vital, as only marital property is subject to division during a divorce. Separate property is any asset acquired before or after the marriage and will remain the sole property of the spouse who obtained the property.
However, if separate property is commingled with marital assets, it will be considered marital property and is subject to distribution during a divorce.
It’s also important to note that if one spouse has an investment before the marriage, its increase in value during the marriage will likely be deemed marital property. For example, if one spouse has a retirement account worth $50,000 before marriage and contributes another $30,000 during their union, only the $30,000 would be considered marital property and subject to distribution.
Does Pennsylvania Adhere to Community Property or Equitable Distribution?
If a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to divide their assets, the courts will follow Pennsylvania’s equitable distribution laws. Unlike other community property states which grant each spouse an equal portion of assets, Pennsylvania adheres to the idea that marital assets should be split based on each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, as well as their individual needs following the divorce. As such, the distribution of assets does not need to be equal as long as it is fair.
It is important to note that the courts will consider financial and domestic contributions when determining the division of marital assets. This is done to ensure that stay-at-home parents are protected during this process by considering homemaking contributions equal to financial contributions.
What Should I Do if I Need Help With How My Property is Distributed?
If you are experiencing issues with the division of your property during your divorce, it is essential to enlist the assistance of a skilled attorney to help you navigate these complex issues. Unfortunately, many going through a divorce try to navigate this process on their own, which can lead to an unfavorable outcome.
The attorneys at Berman Voss have the experience you need to guide you through this process to ensure the outcome of your divorce is fair. Contact the firm today for further assistance.