Although people may become attached to possessions and property accumulated during the course of a marriage, these items often get divided in the divorce process.
Couples who are going through mediation may be able to negotiate the terms of their own property division. However, those who cannot come to an amicable agreement may have their property distributed by a judge.
What is equitable division of property?
Pennsylvania is one of many states in the country that follow an equitable division of property model when splitting assets and property. Rather than split all marital property equally in half, the judge determines who gets what after carefully considering certain factors in the case. According to Pennsylvania state statutes, these the factors considered when dividing property include each parties:
- Employment, income and skills
- Age and health
- Contribution to acquiring the property and assets
- Economic circumstances
The judge may also take into consideration how long the couple was married. Furthermore, if there are any children involved, the judge could look at who stayed home to take care of the children during the marriage.
What is marital and separate property?
While marital property is eligible for division, not all assets and possessions are considered community property. Separate property, involving assets and property that one owned prior to getting married, may stay with the original owner. If the title is updated to include the name of the spouse after getting married, however, it then becomes marital and eligible for division. Separate property also includes inheritance money, gifts given by a third-party and personal injury compensation funds. Assets cannot be combined into a joint bank account or intermingled with marital property or they can then be divided in the final settlement.