Chester County Property Division Attorneys
Assistance When Dividing Your Property in a Chester County Divorce
Ending a marriage can be a heart-wrenching process, but tempers can flare and disagreements arise when it comes time to divide your property. What you hoped would be an uncontested divorce can become confrontational as you and your spouse debate over who owns the house, cars, furniture, jewelry, and other property. Given that Chester County follows Pennsylvania divorce laws, all property in a marriage should be divided equitably between spouses, but that does not mean your divorce will be a clean 50/50 split.
To ensure that you receive your fair share, do not hesitate to contact a Chester County property division lawyer at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. Our legal team has over 25 years of experience representing clients in complex, high-asset divorces that required an in-depth examination of all finances and property. We can review your case in a free consultation, develop a detailed strategy for dividing your household, and advocate for your rights throughout your case. To get started, call our office at (610) 645-0100 and schedule a free case evaluation.
What Assets Can Be Divided?
Anything you and your spouse purchased during your marriage can be divided during your divorce. All assets and property acquired during marriage are considered marital property under Pennsylvania law. However, this does not stop with physical property or incomes. Debt that was acquired during your marriage can also be divided in a divorce.
Typically, assets that can be divided in a Chester County divorce include:
- Real estate, including your house, vacation home, rental properties, timeshares, and leases
- Vehicles, such as cars and boats, as well as auto loans
- Furniture, jewelry, art, clothing, and other physical property
- Family businesses
- Pension plans and retirement benefits
- Stock options
- Debt such as mortgages, credit cards, and student loans
In most cases, the assets and debt you acquired before your marriage are considered separate property and are not subject to property division; however, if that property increased in value during your marriage, then that value may be divided between you and your spouse. For example, if you purchased an art piece prior to your marriage and its market value increased over the course of your marriage, that art piece may be subject to property division.
One method that many partners use to cut through the red tape surrounding property division is establishing a premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial, before getting married. These legal contracts outline what assets each person owns separately and protect certain assets from being divided in the event of a divorce. But premarital agreements are not foolproof, and you should consult an attorney to ensure your agreement will hold up in court. A Chester County judge can throw out a prenup that is unenforceable or “unfair” to either spouse.
What Is the Property Division Process in Pennsylvania?
As an equitable distribution state, Pennsylvania orders its courts to work out a “fair” settlement for both parties in a divorce. This process involves thoroughly reviewing every asset you own as a couple; from the amount of money you made each year to how much you contributed to your household to your credit card statements. For the typical household in Chester County, this process can be complicated, and it only becomes more complex in high-asset divorces where one or both spouses owns a great deal of property or debt.
To divide your property, a Chester County judge will look at several aspects of your marriage, including:
- How long you were married
- Whether you or your spouse was married previously
- You and your spouse’s employment capabilities, such as your skills, education, age, and health
- What you and your spouse contributed to the marriage, including taking care of any children, household chores, and shares in the household income
- The standard of living within the marriage
- Retirement, medical, and other benefits you and your spouse receive
- The tax ramifications of a divorce
The specifics of each of these elements can impact the results of your divorce. In some cases, the court may require one party to pay alimony or child support to the other based on the division of property.
How Are Child Support and Alimony Determined?
Two of the most important decisions that can be made in a Pennsylvania divorce involve alimony and child support. Whether either of these payments are required after a divorce will be based entirely on the income levels of both spouses. Generally, when one spouse has a higher income than the other spouse, the higher-income one may be required to pay alimony to the lower-income one for a certain period of time after the divorce. The same can be said about child support, which is paid from one parent to the other to ensure that their child receives care until he or she is a legal adult or becomes emancipated.
How to Protect Your Property in a Chester County Divorce
Working with an attorney is paramount to ensuring you receive your fair share from your divorce. Without knowledgeable representation, you may find yourself giving away far too much to your ex-spouse. At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., our lead attorney can provide the in-depth legal guidance you need to protect your rights and assets in a Chester County divorce.
When determining how your property should be divided, our legal team can:
- Review all financial assets, property, and debt that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage, including any hidden assets
- Determine the date of separation, meaning the specific date that you and your spouse considered your marriage over
- Identify what assets are marital and what are separate
- Calculate the value of your property
- Analyze any marital agreements that can impact your divorce
- Represent you throughout your divorce
Determining how your property should be divided and what is “fair” is a monumental task. You can face several roadblocks when dealing with a divorce, from your spouse refusing to share all financial details to unfair premarital agreements. In any case, being represented by a skilled Chester County family law attorney is absolutely necessary to secure your future post-divorce.
At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., our lead attorney has more than 25 years of experience working with clients to achieve positive results after their divorces. We thoroughly understand Chester County’s divorce laws and can provide assistance when dividing your property, advocating for alimony and/or child support, and protecting your assets. To discuss your case in more detail, schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (610) 645-0100.