What Happens to Marital Property in a Pennsylvania Divorce?
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.
Just a few of the factors Pennsylvania courts consider when determining a “fair,” equitable split of marital property are:
- The length of the marriage,
- The age, health, career status, amount and sources of income, and other factors affecting each spouse’s ability to earn his or her own living,
- Whether one spouse contributed to the education, training, or increased earning capacity of the other spouse,
- The value of any property not considered “marital property,”
- Which spouse will be caring for the children, if any,
- The standard of living both spouses enjoyed during the marriage.
Because distributing marital property equitably can be complex, it is very important to seek the help of an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney who can protect your rights and interests, as well as help you understand exactly how the state’s laws regarding equitable distribution apply in your situation.