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 divide all assets and debts 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 by each party.
- The standard of living of the parties during the marriage.
- Dividing, distributing, or assigning the federal, state, and local tax ramifications for each asset.
- 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 the couple acquires during their marriage is marital property. Therefore, this property is subject to division during the divorce proceedings. However, property acquired before the marriage, acquired by inheritance, or divorce is 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 has an attorney represent them before entering into a participation agreement. They have the goal of preparing a legally binding agreement signed by the parties which resolve all issues pertaining to the divorce.
Couples who wish to maintain amicable communication after divorce prefer this method. This method is preferable because 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. We can properly value complex holdings such as real estate and retirement accounts that others may struggle with. If necessary, we can work with appraisers, pension evaluators, forensic accountants, and other financial specialists. We will do all we can 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.