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Property Division | Pennsylvania Family Law Blog - The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz

If You Liquidate a Family Business, How Are Assets Divided?

By Sheryl Rentz on January 20, 2022

a pile of money with wedding rings on top

In a Pennsylvania divorce, all marital assets are divided under state “equitable distribution” laws. Property must be divided fairly, taking a number of factors into consideration, including the length of the marriage and the earning ability of each spouse. Marital property is all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, or using funds earned during the marriage. This may include a family business. Read the rest »

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Financial Uncertainty and Business Valuations

By Sheryl Rentz on July 30, 2021

Charts of profit growths and falls next to glasses and magnifying glass

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to great economic unrest across the country, with numerous businesses applying for PPP loans, government relief, and loan forgiveness to avoid sudden closures. The full effects of this financial uncertainty will be felt for years to come, and no one knows that more personally than business owners who are going through divorces. Dividing a business during a divorce is difficult in any scenario, but the lows of 2020 may call into question the true value of your business.

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Are Personal Injury Settlements Divided During a Divorce?

By Sheryl Rentz on April 13, 2021

two crutches and a broken ankle cast

Going through a divorce after you have filed a personal injury claim can feel overwhelming, and it is normal to feel concerned about how the two cases may overlap. You may have worked very hard to recover compensation for your injuries and get your medical bills covered. You may even have a fair amount of money left over from the settlement, but now, you may be worried about whether your ex can claim a portion of it in your divorce.

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Discovering Hidden Assets During a Divorce

By Sheryl Rentz on May 21, 2019

calculator and divorce costs

Dividing up property is an important aspect of divorce, and one of the most contentious. It is not uncommon for spouses to attempt to hide assets during the process, particularly in high-net-worth cases. If you are going through a divorce and suspect your spouse may be hiding assets, Sheryl R. Rentz can help you search for them. She is a Montgomery County family law attorney with more than 25 years of experience. Call our Ardmore office at (610) 645-0100 to schedule a free consultation. Read the rest »

Posted in: Property Division

Lose the Spouse, Keep the House

By Sheryl Rentz on March 21, 2019

spacious apartment kitchen

Divorcing is tougher when high worth is involved. Let’s be honest: no one wants to give up the things they’ve worked hard to obtain to their ex. Your house, property, money, cars, and other valuables could be up for grabs in the divorce. Read the rest »

Posted in: Property Division

Pets: Divided Like Property, or Shared with Custody?

By Sheryl Rentz on February 28, 2018

sleeping orange tabby cat

Any pet owner will tell you that she views her pet as a member of the family. When couples divorce, one would expect pets to be treated the same as children, given how much they mean to their “pet parents.” In some states, like Illinois, the laws are moving in this direction. However, that is not the case in Pennsylvania. Read the rest »

Posted in: Property Division

Property Division in High-Asset Divorce Cases

By Sheryl Rentz on January 19, 2015

One of the most important and complicated parts of a high-asset divorce is property division. There are many assets that both parties may want, such as businesses, cars, boats, collectibles, and furniture. There are also non-tangible items that may be coveted, such as bank accounts, trusts, stock options, patents, life insurance policies, retirement plans, and copyrights. Before you can even begin to divide these assets, you must identify them specifically, determine when the assets were acquired, and give each asset a value.

Identifying property is not as easy as it sounds. Make a list of everything you own separately and jointly. You can always remove items later. Make sure this list includes every tangible and non-tangible item you can think of that has value. Next, you will need to describe each asset as marital or non-marital. Under Pennsylvania law, all assets acquired by either spouse during marriage are considered marital property. Non-marital items may include assets acquired before marriage, assets acquired through inheritance, and assets acquired after the date of separation. Read the rest »

Posted in: Property Division

What Happens to Marital Property in a Pennsylvania Divorce?

By Sheryl Rentz on April 2, 2014

During any divorce in Pennsylvania, the spouses must decide what will happen to their “marital property.”  Marital property includes nearly every item that either of the two spouses acquired during the marriage.  Often, it does not matter whose name is on the title to the property.

Marital property includes items like real estate, bank accounts, pensions, investment tools (like stocks and bonds), automobiles, and furniture.  The increase in value of any of these items during the marriage is also considered “marital property.”

Pennsylvania law requires an “equitable distribution” of marital property when a married couple decides to divorce.  “Equitable,” however, does not always mean “equal.”  It means that the property must be distributed “fairly,” based on a number of considerations.

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Posted in: Property Division

Pennsylvania Divorce—Equitable Division

By Sheryl Rentz on January 30, 2013

Property division at the end of a marriage is not always a peaceful process. Pennsylvania is an “equitable distribution state,” meaning distribution must be fair. This does not mean that property is necessarily divided equally. Property must be negotiated.

Your first instinct may not be to do direct negotiations with your marriage partner. In fact, a settlement agreement, a written document informing the Court exactly how a couple want marital property to be divided, may be impossible for the two of you to reach agreement on. If your efforts to work together to reach an agreement fails, and if certain assets remain in dispute, the Court will make the distribution according to the system of “equitable division.” Read the rest »

How the New Marriage of Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, May Affect His Assets in a Divorce

By Sheryl Rentz on May 30, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg, the infamous founder of the popular social networking site Facebook, married his college sweetheart on May 19 in a backyard ceremony in California. The timing of the nuptials has raised some eyebrows, however, as the wedding happened a day after Facebook went public, and some are wondering if this had anything to do with the terms of a prenuptial agreement or if Zuckerberg was looking to clarify his net worth (estimated at $17 billion), according to The New York Times. Regardless of the actual reasons for the timing of the wedding, matrimonial law experts are clear that whatever the Facebook founder earned before marriage is still his property afterward.

The state of California follows community property laws, which specifically outline how property is divided between two spouses in the event of a divorce, and the general rule states that anything that was a spouse’s property before marriage is considered separate. This “property” can include things like dividends from previously owned stock or rent collected from an income-producing property owned before marriage. After a pair is married, anything either spouse acquires or earns is considered community property. Read the rest »

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