The division of assets can cause unexpected challenges, no matter how amicable your divorce was. It can be of the most time-consuming parts of the process and one of the most contentious.
Before you worry too much about what will happen, it’s useful to know how Pennsylvania divides property during a divorce.
Community property versus separate property
Community property – also known as marital property – is all the assets you and your spouse bought during the length of your marriage. This includes assets such as your house, cars, income, retirement funds, and more.
On the other side, there is separate property, which includes anything you owned before the marriage. It can be an old car, an inheritance that you received individually, or individual debts.
During a divorce, most states allow only community property to be available for division between you and your spouse.
Equitable division of assets
Every state has specific laws for property division during a divorce. Community property states tend to split your community property equally down the middle.
However, Pennsylvania is an equitable division state. For equitable division states, assets are not automatically divided equally. Instead, your marital property will be assessed by a judge who will then award each spouse a certain percentage of the assets. One spouse may receive a higher share than the other.
The judge will typically base their decision on certain factors such as:
- The contributions to the marital property made by each spouse
- The overall value of the marital property
- Current financial circumstances of each spouse
- The behavior of each spouse before and during the divorce proceedings
- Whether the spouses will support any children
- Each spouse’s future needs and obligations
If you are concerned about how much of your assets you’ll receive, it’s in your best interest to consider working with your spouse ahead of time. You and your spouse may be able to agree on a much more equal division of assets that the judge will have to accept.
Regardless, the process of dividing your assets can be long and stressful. You might consider consulting a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help you get what you believe you deserve.