Pennsylvania is what is known as an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to the division of marital debts and assets pursuant to a divorce. Essentially, that means that, if the parties cannot come an agreement on their own with respect to how marital property will be allocated, the court will attempt to divide the property “equitably” or fairly, but not necessarily equally.
When the court attempts to discern what is fair or equitable, the judge can consider a wide range of factors, including:
- How long the parties were married—generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely that the property will be divided equally
- The respective ages, health, income, work skills, ability to be gainfully employed and assets of each party
- Whether or not one spouse contributed to the other’s education, training or increased earning power by maintaining the home or giving up a career to allow the other spouse to advance
- The total income sources for both spouses, including access to retirement funds, medical insurance, annuities and other revenue
- The value of any property that belongs only to one spouse
- The extent to which each spouse increased or decreased the value of marital property
- The future opportunity of either party to obtain assets or increase income
- The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage
- Whether or not one party has custody of minor children
The court will not factor in any allegations or evidence of adultery, domestic violence or other marital misconduct. Furthermore, until the divorce is finalized, the court may make any temporary property allocations, including a determination as to who may live in the marital home.
At the office of Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates, we have more than 25 years of family law experience. We’ll help you stay focused on what matters. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney, contact our office online or call us at 215-886-1266.