Making the decision to file for divorce is not easy. One of the main concerns you may have as you move forward with this decision is what will happen to your marital property. It is normal to have misgivings about the property division process, but it can be helpful and give you peace of mind to be familiar with how this process works.
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. This means that the division of your property depends on what is most fair, which is not necessarily 50-50 between you and the other party. Unless you decide to draft a property division agreement out of court and use methods such as mediation or negotiation to address these issues, a judge will get to decide what qualifies as equitable.
Protecting your property rights
Dividing your marital property does not necessarily mean that every asset will be split or divided. Typically, the determination of what qualifies as equitable depends on the value of the assets, the type of asset and the income of both parties. All community property, also called marital property, is subject to division and distribution between the parties during divorce. Consider the differences between separate and marital property:
- Marital property: Marital or community property includes everything that a couple accumulated over the course of the marriage. This includes homes purchased, cars bought and any other type of physical or financial asset.
- Separate property: This is anything that belonged to one party before the marriage. This includes inheritances given to one person, court awards, pension proceeds and more. Some separate property that becomes comingled over the course of the marriage could become community property.
Property division issues are often some of the most commonly disputed issues during a divorce. Both parties will likely have an emotional attachment to certain assets, and it is quite common to have disagreements regarding property rights and ownership of assets, but you have the right to fight for a fair and reasonable settlement.
Your future after divorce
Divorce will change many things in your life, including your finances and the property you own. It can be overwhelming to consider these major changes, but it is helpful to seek help from the very beginning. With guidance, you can pursue a final order that allows you to have a strong and stable financial future. The decisions made during divorce will affect your life long-term, and it is beneficial to make decisions based on your best interests and not temporary emotions.