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In a Pennsylvania divorce, who keeps the cash and the property?

When getting divorced in Pennsylvania, determining who gets to keep your property -- especially any cash that you have on hand or in bank accounts -- is incredibly important. All of your assets have to be reported during the case, and it is illegal to hide assets.

The most important thing to note is the law's stance on marital property. Essentially, all of the money that you have and the property that you've obtained while you were married is considered to be simply marital property that is owned by both you and your spouse in equal parts. Therefore, it has to be divided in an equitable manner.

The issue that many people have with this is that they feel they own specific things. For instance, a wife may have purchased a car for herself that her husband never drives, or a husband may feel that he should get all of the cash because he works and his wife does not. Naturally, the genders here can be flipped, but the point stays the same: People think of property as theirs alone, and not shared property.

In Pennsylvania, though, the law does not agree. Anything gained is seen as being gained by both of you, no matter who obtained it, who may have signed a name on a deed or who made the purchase. If you and your spouse are not able to sit down and divide things on your own, the court will do it for you, seeking to split everything up fairly and equitably.

Make sure that you know exactly what rights you have to property that you own as a couple, especially if your spouse is saying you have no claim.

Source: Pennsylvania Bar Association, "Divorce & Separation," accessed May. 15, 2015

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