Throughout the course of your marriage, you and your spouse likely accumulated assets, and you may have intermingled the property each of you brought into the relationship. In the event of a divorce, your shared assets must be divided; a sticking point for many couples in finalizing the dissolution of their marriages.
For the purposes of your divorce, the property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage qualifies as marital property. This may include your wages, increases in value in stock holdings, vehicles and homes.
According to Pennsylvania state law, the court shall divide shared assets in accordance with the principle of equitable division. For the purposes of splitting up marital property during a divorce, however, equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Rather, the court may split up your assets in a way it deems just based on the relevant considerations.
In deciding how to divide your shared assets, the court may consider factors such as the following:
- Whether you or your spouse were previously married
- The length of your marriage
- The standard of living established during your marital relationship
- The contributions you and your spouse made to each other’s increased earning potential
- Your and your ex’s sources of income and future opportunities to acquire assets or income
The court may also take factors such as your employability, vocational skills and education into consideration, as well as the economic circumstances of you and your former spouse at the time when the property division decision will take effect. The court does not, however, factor in marital misconduct on the part of you or your ex when making property division decisions.
Allowing for the consideration of these and other factors, state law enables the court to make decisions regarding the division of marital property based on the best interests of each spouse and any children involved. More information regarding this topic is available on our website.