Prepping For Property Division In A Pennsylvania Divorce
In the course of any marriage, couples inevitably make decisions that lead to a mutual ownership of property and assets. Examples include a home, cars, investments, and a vast array of other tangible assets that bring purpose to that specific couple’s relationship. When couples decide to end their marriage and file for divorce, they are very likely to take a keen interest in how their property will be divided.
Pennsylvania law sets the parameters for how property is divided in a divorce. The state follows an “equitable distribution” system of property division, which will be explained in greater detail in the following section. For Pennsylvania couples looking to file for divorce, read on to discover ways to prepare for property division during a divorce.
Understanding Equitable Distribution
As mentioned in the preceding section, Pennsylvania is an equal distribution state, which means that the courts will attempt to divide a couple’s property based on what the judge deems fair under the individual circumstances of each divorce case.
Some states follow a different system of property division known as “community property”, wherein the courts attempt a 50-50 split of property distribution between spouses. Equitable distribution, therefore, is somewhat more nuanced of a system that takes into consideration factors other than the ultimate monetary value of a couple’s property.
Now that Pennsylvania’s property division system has been outlined, let’s look at ways couples can prepare their property for a divorce.
Preparing for Property Division
When preparing for property division, the first step is to identify all of the assets you and your spouse own both jointly and individually, and make separate lists for both classes of assets. “Property” can be thought to encompass anything with monetary value, such as bank accounts, businesses, furniture, and even patents. Keep in mind, however, that due to the nature of equitable distribution, even an asset in one person’s name can be up for distribution.
After identifying all assets, the next thing you and your spouse should do is determine your date of separation. This date is not arbitrary; your divorce attorney will likely help you complete the necessary forms for stating your separation date. This date is important because assets acquired after the date of separation are typically exempt from distribution.
The next thing spouses need to attend to is the character of their assets. All assets can be classified as either marital property (subject to distribution) or non-marital property (not subject to distribution). In general, Pennsylvania law considers any assets and income acquired during the marriage to be marital property. Examples of non-marital property include property acquired before marriage, inheritances received during the marriage, and any property excluded due to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
The final step of the process involves determining all property’s value. For this, working closely with a respected divorce attorney can save couples ample time and stress.
Let an Attorney Help You Today
If you need help with your case, Barbara Flum Stein & Associates is here for you. Reach out to our skilled Media divorce attorneys for a consultation.