While it may seem an impossible task, divorce proceedings often attempt to quantify a marriage by considering elements like economic and financial circumstances, emotional contributions and the length of the relationship.
After divorce proceedings have ended, both parties may feel like the distribution of belongings was less than equal. However, the distinction between equal and equitable is an important one.
How are assets divided?
In Pennsylvania, courts use equitable distribution to divide assets during a divorce. If an agreement is not reached during a mediation process, a judge will decide what a fair split of marital assets should be.
Instead of considering all the property, the couple owns as community property, which would have the division at 50/50, equitable distribution takes multiple factors into account to determine the best way to divide assets.
What factors are important?
Depending on the specific details of each case, some common considerations include:
- Current sources of income and potential for future earnings
- Established standard of living during the marriage
- Maintenance and contributions to the home and family
- Custodial status of each party
Family residence and vacation homes are often a primary concern during divorce proceedings. Generally, real estate owned by each party prior to the marriage is separate property. This is exempt from division consideration in most cases. The court instead focuses on marital property, or homes and land acquired during the marriage.
Many people find it difficult to analyze sentimental belongings and subjective experiences with objectivity. This is understandable. The goal of equitable distribution is to create a fair outcome for both parties.