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High asset divorce means greater risk in some states

A large part of divorce is the separation of assets. The custody of children, the ownership of the house and the division money and other assets are among the items that are negotiated. A couple going through a high asset divorce may have even more at stake, and the state where the couple lives may add to that risk.

Most states, including Pennsylvania, follow the law of equitable distribution. This leaves the division of assets in the hands of a judge who determines a fair portion for each spouse. Assets included in the division are those each spouse accumulated during the marriage, such as houses, cars, jewelry and investments. These assets will not necessarily be divided evenly. Instead, a judge will consider each spouse's income or earning potential and financial requirements, and divide the assets accordingly.

A few states divide assets using the law of community property. In these states, all marital assets are divided equally between the two spouses. Even if one spouse earns considerably more than the other during their marriage, each spouse receives 50 percent of the estate. In most cases, assets that are owned prior to the marriage or that are gifted or bequeathed to one partner remain the property of that partner after divorce.

In a high asset divorce, the division of the marital estate can result in major lifestyle changes for each party. Having an attorney to assist during the negotiations is invaluable. Whether the asset division comes from a judge or is brought about through the negotiation of the parties involved, in states like Pennsylvania, an attorney can defend one's right to a fair portion of the estate.

Source:, "The best states to get divorced in if you are much richer than your spouse", Tanza Loudenback, Nov. 16, 2016

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