Divorce Attorney Guides You Through Division of Assets
Advice in West Chester about your marital assets and liabilities
No matter how long you have been married, divvying up the property and debt at the end of the marriage can be a contentious undertaking. Catherine H. Voit recognizes the potential for disputes and works to create solutions that make sense for both divorcing spouses. If necessary, she draws on her experience as a prosecutor to zealously protect your interests in court.
What is considered marital property?
Under Pennsylvania law, marital property is all assets and debts acquired by either party during the marriage, regardless of who holds the legal title. For example, a house bought during the marriage is marital property even if only one spouse’s name is on the deed.
Marital property includes retirement accounts, vehicles, furniture, bank accounts and even pets. It also includes any debts acquired during the marriage, such as car loans, mortgages and credit card debt. There are a few exceptions, including property acquired before the marriage, property received as a personal gift or inheritance, property excluded by a valid contract between the parties (that is, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement) and property acquired after the final separation. However, any increase or decrease in value of nonmarital property during the marriage is taken into account during property division.
What is equitable division?
If you and your spouse cannot reach a property settlement agreement, the court makes an “equitable distribution” of the property. Equitable does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split, but rather a fair distribution of all marital assets and liabilities.
Marital misconduct is not taken into account during property division. Rather, Pennsylvania courts consider several other factors to determine fairness, including:
- Length of marriage
- Age, health, income, employability and any special needs of each party
- The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
- The opportunity to acquire assets and income in the future
- The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker
- Any prior marriage of either party
- The value of any nonmarital property owned by each party
- The standard of living of the parties during the marriage
- Whether a party will be the custodian of any dependent children
Because property division affects your finances for many years after divorce, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. Whether you plan to negotiate a property settlement agreement with your spouse or need the court’s assistance to resolve your disputes, Catherine H. Voit works tirelessly to protect your interests.
Contact a veteran Chester County divorce attorney today
If you are facing divorce, Catherine H. Voit walks you through the property division process step by step and answers your questions along the way. To schedule an appointment, call Catherine today at 484.881.3185 or contact her online.