Divorce can be a very emotional and stressful life event. When divorce is on the horizon, a couple will be faced with a myriad of complex issues. One of these is how the marital property will be split.
Every state has laws regarding division of the marital property during divorce. In Pennsylvania, this law is known as equitable distribution. But what exactly does this mean?
Understanding equitable division of marital property
Basically, marital property refers to any asset and debt acquired by one or both parties during the marriage. For instance, a home that has been purchased by the husband while married is considered marital property even if the title is in his name. This is what is divided equitably in the event of a divorce. But equitable distribution of marital property does not necessarily mean that each spouse will leave the marriage with 50 percent of the marital property. Rather, it means that the court will distribute the property in a manner that it deems “just and fair.”
Factors the court takes into account when splitting marital property
To ensure that marital property is split equitably, the court will take a number of factors into account. Of course, it is up to the court’s discretion to apportion appropriate weight to these factors. Here are some of the factors the court will take into account when splitting marital property:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age, employability, earning power health and needs
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Each party’s sources of income, including insurance, retirement, medical and other benefits
Sometimes, a need may arise for a portion of the marital property to be distributed before finalizing the divorce. This happens when either party is in dire financial need. In this case, the court will take such distribution into account when making the final distribution.
While prepping for the divorce, one of the most important issues you need to address is the division of marital property. Understanding how Pennsylvania divorce laws work can help you safeguard your rights and interests while splitting marital assets and liabilities.