Divorce and the family home in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Divorce

When going through a divorce in Pennsylvania, one of the main concerns that couples often deal with is who gets the family home. Your house could be one of your biggest assets and contain a lot of memories for you both, so it becomes one of the major disputes in property division. Here’s a look at factors that can place you in a better position to get the home.

Marital and separate property in Pennsylvania

During a divorce in Pennsylvania, the court must assess all your property to determine separate and marital property. Marital property is all the purchases, income, and investments made while you were married. The court will divide these items equitably between spouses.

On the other hand, separate property is your own and is free from separation during a divorce. This includes items you bought or part of your investments before marriage as well as gifts and inheritance.

Who gets the house in Pennsylvania?

If the house is separate property, then you’d expect the court not to touch it while dividing your property. However, if the other spouse, the non-owner, invests in enhancing the value of the home by making improvements, then they interfere with the separate property status of the owner. They may be able to claim ownership of that house during your divorce.

Can moving out affect your claim?

Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if one spouse moved out when you were going through the divorce; the court doesn’t put that into consideration when determining who gets the house. You all have equal claim to it still.

Also, while the divorce process is ongoing, you can ask the court to give you exclusive possession until the divorce process is over. This usually happens when children are involved, and the parent likely to get custody wants them to stay in the same place they grew up.

The court considers many factors when deciding on how to split property. It is important to note that contributions as a homemaker are as important as monetary-based efforts. It’s also noteworthy that if a spouse used the marital property to fund an affair, the court could award the other spouse a larger share, potentially including the house.