How Does the Court Divide Marital Property in PA?

In Pennsylvania, family courts divide marital property using a system called equitable distribution. The goal of equitable distribution is to effectuate economic justice between the parties, rather than automatically splitting assets into equal shares.

Key factors used in determining distribution are the parties’ respective incomes, capacity for future earnings, age, contributions as homemaker or caretaker of children, and value of nonmarital property. Lesser factors to be considered are length of the marriage, other marriages, contribution to education/earning capacity of the other party, contributions to or dissipations from the marital estate, standard of living, and tax ramifications of retaining certain assets.

If you are considering divorce, these three points related to equitable distribution are important:

  1. If a dependent spouse seeks alimony, he or she may receive a lesser percentage of the marital estate in order to protect the ability to collect alimony.
  2. A common misconception is that assets in one spouse’s name are not marital assets. If the asset was purchased during the marriage, it is presumed to be marital property unless the spouse claiming the asset can prove it was purchased with nonmarital funds.
  3. The increase in value of nonmarital property can be added to the marital estate. Nonmarital property is property which was owned by one of the spouses before the marriage and never re-titled, given as a gift or inheritance, or excluded from the marital estate by a prenuptial agreement.

For more information on how marital estates are calculated and equitably divided, contact Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

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