The basics of property division in divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2022 | Divorce

Unfortunately, divorce can get difficult and confusing when it comes to dividing up property. If you’re going through divorce in Pennsylvania, you need to know the factors that play into how property gets divided.

What counts as marital property?

Marital property is all the things you acquire during your marriage. This can include anything from your home to your car and your bank account. Basically, if you acquired the property during the marriage, it is considered marital property and will likely get divided in divorce.

What is separate property?

Separate property is anything you or your spouse acquired before the marriage or during your separation. For example, if you owned a home before getting married, that would be considered separate property. Generally, separate property is not divided in divorce.

How does marital property get divided in divorce?

When it comes to marital property, the end goal is fairness. This means your family court judge will do everything possible to ensure that both spouses leave the marriage with an equal share of what they had together. To arrive at this result, family courts may use equitable distribution or community property theory.

Under the equitable distribution theory, family courts will try to fairly divide up all the marital property. This can be a difficult task as it’s not always easy to put a value on certain assets. The community property theory is simpler: Each spouse gets an equal share of all the marital property.

However, under family law in Pennsylvania, courts are not required to divide family assets in half. Instead, they can do whatever they believe is fair under the circumstances. For instance, they may award one spouse more of the family’s assets if that spouse is taking on a greater share of the parenting responsibilities.

If you’re engaged in divorce proceedings, it is very important that you understand the family law in your state. Besides affording you a better understanding of the process, this knowledge will help you know what you should expect.