Most people don’t know what to expect when they file for divorce. They don’t know how their spouse will respond or what will happen in court. Only those who have already discussed the decision with their spouse and who have some kind of written agreement about major divorce issues can completely predict what will occur when they dissolve their marriage.
If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, it is common to worry about what property you will get to keep after the divorce. You don’t want to guess about the outcome or develop unreasonable expectations because of the exaggerated stories you hear from co-workers.
Learning a bit about how Pennsylvania divides property when couples divorce can help you plan for your future.
What is the rule for property division in Pennsylvania?
Every state has its own laws about how to split up the assets that spouses shared during their marriage. Pennsylvania, like the majority of states in the country, wants people to make fair arrangements for property division.
The state has an equitable distribution law that instructs judges to consider the spouses’ individual economic circumstances and the details of the marriage when deciding how to allocate both assets and debts from the marital estate. Judges can order people to sell their family home, split their retirement accounts or pay all of the credit cards, depending on what they think is fair.
Typically only separate property is excluded from that process. An inheritance, gifts or property people owned before they got married might remain separate property during the marriage. Understanding what property the courts will divide and the rules they use to divide them can help you plan for your upcoming Pennsylvania divorce.