A large part of a divorce case involves dividing up property and other assets. It’s hard to tell exactly what you will end up with prior to your court date, but understanding some of the rules the judge will follow can give you a better understanding of the process.
Like most states, family courts in Pennsylvania will follow an equitable distribution rule. This essentially means that through a divorce trial, a judge carries out property distribution with fairness in mind. It won’t necessarily lead to a split that is 100% even, rather a judge will consider many factors about the marriage and the life each party will lead after divorce when it comes to the division of marital property.
What is marital property?
In Pennsylvania, any property that both parties own together or accounts that both parties share will be subject to property division. Some examples of joint or marital property include a family home that has both of your names on the title or a shared bank account.
However, it’s worth noting that a court will handle separate property differently than marital property. Separate property includes items you owned before your marriage, gifts you’ve received through your marriage, or inheritance money or property you’ve kept in your own name. The law doesn’t require splitting this kind of property between both you and your ex.
What kind of factors affect property division?
Since every divorcing couple has a unique assets and dynamics, no two settlements will look exactly the same. But in just about every Pennsylvania divorce you can expect the property won’t endure a 50/50 split because of several factors, including the following:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Health and age of each person
- Income and number of income sources
- The employability of each party
- The standard of living set through the marriage
- Who will have custody of the children
A divorce attorney can help you come to an agreement that provides stability for life after divorce.