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Property division during a Pennsylvania divorce

Pennsylvania couples going through a divorce have several issues to resolve throughout the divorce process. Property division is often a part of the divorce that can quickly turn acrimonious. Spouses may feel entitled to certain items acquired before or during the marriage. If either spouse owned a business during the marriage, there are more items to discuss.

The term community property means that all property is split 50/50. In Pennsylvania, the concept of community property is not used. Instead, it is an equitable distribution state, which means all property will be divided in a way that is determined to be fair. Judges have to divide property into two categories: separate property and marital property. Marital property covers assets acquired during the marriage that are owned by both spouses.

Separate property can be confusing to determine. This is property owned by only one spouse and includes items owned before the marriage. However, it can include items obtained during the marriage if the items were a gift. The division of a business is more detailed, taking into consideration the time and money spent by each spouse to keep the business going.

To determine who gets what during a divorce, a judge considers many factors, including the incomes of the spouses, ages, retirement accounts, length of the marriage and each spouse's individual ability to take care of themselves. If the couple is able to divide their property in a way that is fair to each of them, no further steps are needed. However, if one spouse feels like the other is taking advantage or receiving more than is due, a family law attorney might help settle the differences.

Source: Findlaw, "Pennsylvania Marital Property Laws", September 03, 2014

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