Every state treats the division of property during divorce proceedings differently. Some jurisdictions are known as community property states, while others — like Pennsylvania — are considered equitable distribution jurisdictions. In community property states, everything gained during the marriage is considered jointly owned by the parties and divided equally. Equitable distribution essentially means that marital property division will be handled in a manner that is fair, though not necessarily equally.
Accordingly, equitable distribution does not necessarily involve splitting everything evenly down the middle. Yes, each spouse should walk away from the marriage with an equal share of assets, but one may be given more in monetary assets while the other is granted more in physical property. This form of distribution really is all about the value of marital property and making sure each spouse receives a fair share.
In Pennsylvania, couples are given the opportunity to come to property division terms on their own. If they are unable to do so, the final settlement will be determined in court. Before the court can make a ruling on property division, several factors will be considered, including:
- Income levels of each spouse
- The ages of both parties
- Tax consequences
- Domestic requirements
- Future monetary needs
- Marriage length
The property division portion of divorce proceedings can certainly be challenging to manage. Generally speaking, most people just want to leave their marriages with their fair share of assets. This is something that is possible to achieve, with or without the need for litigation. A divorce attorney can help divorcing couples in Pennsylvania come to terms that are equitable and serve their best interests.
Source: FindLaw, “Pennsylvania Marital Property Laws“, Accessed on Feb. 16, 2017