The emotional aspect of a divorce proceeding can quickly take a toll on a couple in Pennsylvania. However, if the two parties have high-value assets to split — or a large quantity of property to divide — this can also be an overwhelming part of the divorce process. Here is a rundown on how courts handle property division in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania is one of several states across the country that are equitable distribution states. In these states, a judge divides a divorcing couple’s marital property in a manner that he or she considers to be fair. The property that he or she must divide includes anything that the couple acquired via their jobs or even through their unique abilities, for example.

Meanwhile, other types of property legally do not need to be divided between the pair. These assets include objects that the spouses obtained before they got married, or businesses that they owned prior to saying their “I Dos.” Likewise, if one party was given a gift either before or after entering the marriage, this is not marital property that has to be distributed.

Property division can certainly be confusing to tackle from a legal standpoint, with no two divorce cases being alike. However, an attorney can walk a divorcing spouse through the asset distribution process and help him or her to make informed decisions about what assets to pursue versus which ones to give up to the other party. The attorney’s ultimate goal is to make sure that the client’s rights and best interests are protected when dealing with the splitting of assets in Pennsylvania.