Divorce Property Division Lawyer
Dividing the property an important consideration when a marriage ends. But before you or the courts decide how to divide the assets, you will need to determine the type and value any of the assets you acquired when you were married. Since property division will heavily influence your financial life after divorce, it’s worth talking things over with a lawyer and bringing a full list of your assets and liabilities that may be up for division.
Make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities when doing so by hiring an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney to help walk you through the process and give you a better understanding of what is involved.
The first step you need to take involves the identification of property. You will need to create a list. Include everything because you can always remove items later. Your assets are tangible items including boats, homes, furniture, businesses, and collectibles. Furthermore, you might also wish to include intangible which include stock options, patents, bank accounts, retirement plans, copyrights, trusts and insurance policies.
You will need to then identify each the type of each asset. An asset will be classified as non-marital or marital.
The characterization of an asset plays a crucial role in diving and determining the value of the property in divorce. Marital assets in Pennsylvania include all assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Non-marital property includes assets either spouse had before the marriage, assets that are inherited or gifts, and those assets acquired after couple separated. The courts are authorized to distribute and divide marital property between the spouses in the divorce. Both spouses keep their separate property in the majority of cases.
The characterization of property is also impacted by when the couple separated. This is usually the date when the couple began to live separately. This means they do not present themselves as a couple. The spouses do not need to maintain separate households but it will be more challenging when settling the divorce case.
After you have identified the separation date, the next phase is to identify the dates that the assets were purchased. Property acquired before the marriage are considered separate property. If the spouse brought an item into the marriage, that item belongs to the spouse separately.
The next phase of this process is to identify what the assets are worth. This can be challenging as there are numerous different factors involved and you may wish to retain the services of a professional. Typically, courts will use the current assessment of the item at the time of the separation. The marital property could have another component that needs to be computed as it relates to comingled assets. You can deduct contributions from a separate party from current value and consider interest that could have accrued.
Divorcing couples will follow these steps to agree and decide how to split their property on their own but they might not be able to come to an agreement. This means it goes before a judge for consideration.
Courts in Pennsylvania consider numerous factors when deciding the division of the property, including each spouses’ needs, their vocational skills and job prospects, how long they were married, whether either spouse has been previously married, the spouse’s ability to obtain assets and earn income in the future, the standard of living enjoyed over the course of the marriage, and the amount and value of each spouse’s assets.
Courts do not consider marital misconduct in Pennsylvania but consulting with your experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney can give you a better perspective on what is involved and how to best protect your interest