How is Property Divided During a Divorce
Asset division is one of the biggest issues for divorcing couples. Pennsylvania uses a process known as equitable distribution as the basis of property division. If you are considering a divorce in the Philadelphia area, an experienced divorce attorney can help. You are entitled to receive a fair share of the marital assets.
Pennsylvania Uses Equitable Distribution
If you go through the divorce process in Pennsylvania, you will probably hear the term equitable distribution. Equitable distribution does not mean that property will be divided up equally. In fact, in many cases, it will be quite the opposite. Equitable distribution is all about ‘fairness.’ A court will take a holistic look at the marriage and determine how to divide property in a way that is fair to both parties. This will include looking at factors such as what each partner brought to the marriage, and what each partner will realistically need going forward. Clearly, the equitable distribution process leaves a lot of room for qualitative judgments. You need adequate legal protection. If there is any sort of property division dispute in your divorce, no matter how minor, you should have an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney on your side.
Not All Property is Subject to Equitable Distribution
Under Pennsylvania law, some property can be set aside, so that it can avoid equitable distribution considerations. Separate property is not owned by the marriage as a unit, and therefore it will not be divided in a divorce. Typically, separate property will include property that was owned by one party prior to the beginning of the marriage. For example, if one partner owned a vacation home before the marriage began, then that home would be considered separate property when dividing assets during a divorce. Only property that was acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. However, asset appreciation can be considered in the equitable distribution process. So, say that the vacation home was owned prior to the marriage, but it doubled in value during the marriage. In that scenario, the added value can often be included in the division of property. Further, if one spouse came into the marriage with separate cash, but then used that cash to purchase joint property (often a house or a car) then the cash most likely converted to marital property upon the purchase of a joint asset. The process is complex, and it is important that you are treated fairly. You should be able to retain your separate property, and you need to protect yourself from your former spouse making an unfair separate property claim on your share of the marital assets.
Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney
Dividing property during a divorce is rarely easy. Property becomes intermingled over time, so valuing and dividing everything fairly poses many challenges. At Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices, we can help protect your interests throughout the divorce process. Please do not hesitate to contact our office online or by calling 215-576-8870 today to schedule a free case evaluation.