When the dissolution of a marriage is inevitable, feeling overwhelmed is natural. After all, many decisions have to be made before a divorce can be finalized, such as property division. A few tips may help with navigating this type of family law proceeding in Pennsylvania.

First, taking stock of one’s living expenses, such as the utility costs and the mortgage, is important for determining whether one’s current lifestyle can be maintained. An important part of maintaining this lifestyle is understanding what assets will end up being divided between the two spouses. In the state of Pennsylvania, which is an equitable distribution state, the aim is to determine a division of assets that is fair.

Part of this process is deciding on what is marital property — or any property acquired in the course of the marriage — and what is considered individual property. Individual property is any property one spouse receives or obtains prior to getting married. A prenuptial agreement may involve other property that was formerly agreed upon, or perhaps one spouse received a particular inheritance before getting married that legally can remain with him or her.

If two spouses are willing to try to find common ground, they may be able to avoid further court intrusion when tackling matters such as property division or child custody. They can simply reach their own agreement regarding these matters through informal negotiations or processes such as divorce mediation. Otherwise, a judge in Pennsylvania will have to make these important decisions for them at trial.

Source: kare11.com, “Navigating divorce while keeping finances straight“, Kim Insley, Sept. 13, 2017