Pennsylvania is an “equitable distribution” state. All property acquired during the life of the marriage will be divided “fairly.” Note that the term “fairly” does not mean that all property will be divided equally.
Marital property includes all property that was acquired during the marriage, regardless of how it is titled or in whose name it is titled. Property includes, but is not limited to, all income and assets acquired during the marriage. If the value of an asset owned by one spouse prior to marriage has appreciated in value during the life of the marriage, the value of appreciation may be considered marital property as well. Similar principles apply to marital debt which will also be divided equitably.
Gifts from others and inheritances that a spouse receives during the marriage belong to that spouse provided there is no evidence that the recipient spouse gifted the property to the marital estate. Gifts from one spouse to another are marital property if they were purchased with marital funds. Pensions and retirement savings accounts are also considered marital property if they were acquired during the marriage.
Issues regarding property division can often complicate divorce and sometimes it becomes necessary to retain an attorney to assist you. This is true in cases where there is high net worth, or when one or both spouses operate a business that is marital property. However, this is also true in cases that may seem relatively simple. For example, many couples will have consumer debt, automobiles that may or may not be paid off, retirement savings, pets, and a marital residence with a mortgage. Reaching decisions as to how these assets and debts will be divided often requires the assistance of an attorney.
In complex cases and cases of high net worth , there may be more than one home or business location as well. The couple may have also collected valuables during the life of their marriage. It will often be necessary to retain experts and appraisers to appropriately value these assets and there are many legal issues that can develop with regard to how property in a complex or high net worth case can be divided.
To learn more, call 724-304-4604 and arrange to meet Robert Galbraith at his North Hills office in Wexford. Robert will also travel to the South Hills or the Monroeville area to meet with clients as well. You may also contact the Pennsylvania law firm via E-mail.