One of the painstaking, necessary evils involved in divorce is the division of assets. This can be a confusing process in an equitable distribution state like Pennsylvania, which doesn’t simply split the property 50/50 between the spouses. The equitable distribution process involves accounting for all marital assets, assigning them a value when necessary, and distributing them among the spouses fairly.
Any disagreement between the spouses on what is fair can add extra stress on an already time-consuming process. An experienced Chester County family lawyer can help advocate for a equitable division on your behalf.
Chester County Equitable Distribution Attorney
Divorce is a stressful time, and the many details involved in the equitable distribution of your marital assets can add negativity to what is already a difficult life even. The compassionate, experienced divorce attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices are based in West Chester PA and serve the greater Philadelphia area and can help advocate equal distribution for you in your divorce and fight for what is rightfully yours.
For your free consultation on how Ciccarelli Law Offices can help equitable division of assets in your Pennsylvania divorce, call (610) 692-8700 or send an online message for a free consultation so we can act as soon as possible. We are based in West Chester PA and serve clients throughout Chester County, Lancaster County and suburban Philadelphia including West Chester, Kennett Square, Oxford, Avondale, Landenberg, West Grove, Paoli, Malvern, Downingtown, Coatesville, Exton, Parkesburg, Berwyn and Devon. We have convenient meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor. Our family lawyers serve those with immediate legal needs in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
Equitable Distribution of Assets under Pennsylvania Law
- Relevant Factors in Dividing Assets During a Divorce
- Marital Property vs. Personal Property in Pennsylvania
Relevant Factors in Dividing Assets During a Divorce
When a divorce occurs in Pennsylvania, the marital assets are divided according to what the court deems a fair split. Equitable distribution of assets does not mean 50/50. This is in contrast to the concept of community property practiced in states like California and Texas, where the spouses are owners of all their property and the court must find a way to divide the property in half. It also is not about fault grounds.
Rather, equitable distribution is about dividing marital property in a fair fashion according to the following factors indicated by 23 Pa.C.S. § 3502:
- Marriage length
- Prior marriage of either spouse
- The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each spouse.
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.
- Each spouse’s opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income
- Both spouses’ source of income which includes retirement, pension, insurance, and other benefits
- The contribution or dissipation of each spouse in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of marital property – including contributions of a homemaker
- The value of the separate, personal property
- The established marital standard of living
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division is to be effective, including:
- Tax ramifications, and
- The expenses accrued selling, transferring or liquidating any particular asset
- Whether either party will serve as a custodian to any children after the divorce
Once the equitable distribution is determined by the court, it is required to give in writing justification for how it determined this allegedly fair division. It is important to remember that equitable distribution is for marital property only and does not involve personal property. An experienced West Chester divorce attorney can help you determine what qualifies as marital property as well as make a case for equitable distribution in your favor.
Marital Property vs. Personal Property in Pennsylvania
Division of assets during a Pennsylvania divorce is for marital property only. Any property obtained outside of the dates of marriage is considered personal property. This usually includes inheritances as well as gifts given by a third party to a spouse during the marriage, unless that inheritance or gift was used to purchase joint property such as a home. Marital property is any property or assets obtained during the marriage, such as real estate, pensions, 401ks, IRAs, businesses, stocks, and life insurance. Gifts from one spouse to another are also considered marital property.
This difference in personal property and marital property necessitates the breaking down of all assets into extramarital and intramarital property, as well as having certain properties and assets appraised when necessary. It is important to locate all assets, properly label them as personal or marital, and assign them a correct value for equitable distribution. If you are worried about protecting your personal property and assets, an experienced Chester County divorce attorney can help settle your case with your spouse out of court, or fight for equitable distribution in you favor within Pennsylvania divorce court.
Dividing Property Fairly After a Pennsylvania Divorce
If you are seeking to terminate your marriage and worried about the equitable distribution of your property and assets in Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, and Montgomery County, contact the experienced Greater Philadelphia divorce lawyers of Ciccarelli Law Offices today. We have experience dealing with the complex issues that may arise and consult with established contacts in forensic accounting and various appraisers.
Your first consultation is free and is a helpful, no pressure opportunity to learn more about your options. Call (610) 692-8700 today and learn more.