How Marital Assets Are Divided In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, if divorcing spouses are unable to agree on how to split their marital assets and tackle debt division, the court will make decisions based on an “equitable distribution” model. Despite its moniker, the equitable distribution model does not automatically presume that all assets and debts should be divided in half.
Rather, the court considers a number of factors, including but not limited to :
- The length of the marriage
- Any prior marriage of either party
- Whether either party contributed to the increased earning potential of the other
- Each party’s income and his or her ability to rebuild assets and income in the future
- The value of the property set apart to each party
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
- The federal, state and local tax ramifications associated with each asset to be divided, distributed or assigned
- The expense of sale, transfer or liquidation associated with a particular asset
- The custodial responsibilities of both parties after the divorce
Division of Property
All property acquired by the couple during their marriage is considered marital property and thus, is subject to division during the divorce proceedings. However, property acquired before the marriage or after the marriage if acquired by inheritance or divorce is considered separate property, owned by one spouse.
Marital property is all property acquired by either party during the marriage regardless of whose name is on the title. It covers money earned and property acquired after the marriage and can include stocks, pensions, retirement accounts, and trusts.
Nonmarital property includes premarital assets (property that either party brought into the marriage), inheritances received by either party during the marriage, gifts to a spouse other than from the other spouse, property sold or disposed of in good faith during the marriage and property excluded by a valid prenuptial agreement.
Collaborative Law Act
In 2018, Pennsylvania enacted the Collaborative Law Act. Under the law, each spouse is represented by an attorney and enters into a participation agreement with the goal of preparing a legally binding agreement signed by the parties which resolve all issues pertaining to the divorce.
Many couples who wish to maintain amicable communication with their ex-spouse prefer this method as it leaves out intervention by courts. However, if during the process the couple fails to reach a resolution, they must retain new counsel to continue the process.
Northeastern Pennsylvania Marital Assets Division Lawyer
At Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. in Scranton, we adopt a solutions-oriented approach to property division. As with creating a child custody and visitation plan, reaching terms on property division without litigation allows the parties involved to retain more control over the final outcome.
Our Scranton property division attorney has an in-depth understanding of valuation methods in order to properly value complex holdings such as real estate and retirement accounts. If necessary, we work with appraisers, pension evaluators, forensic accountants and other financial specialists to obtain a full and accurate valuation of your marital property.
Our firm will protect your interests and act as your advocate on all asset division matters as part of a divorce action or any other family law situation. Call (570) 207-4000 or use our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.