Equitable Distribution During a Pennsylvania Divorce
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. This stands in contradistinction to community property states in which the marital estate is divided 50/50. Equitable distribution states consider a variety of other factors when dividing a marital estate. While in many cases, an estate may be divided 50/50, equitable distribution states consider the disposition of both spouses, their earning power, and their situation post-divorce. In this article, we’ll discuss how equitable distribution works in Pennsylvania.
13 factors for equitable distribution in Pennsylvania
When the court is considering the division of the marital estate, it takes into account 13 factors that govern how the estate is to be divided. This means that the estate will be divided equitably, not evenly. A spouse with less earning power than the other spouse may be entitled to recover more than 50% of the marital estate. Factors considered by the courts include:
- The age, health, job, sources of income, vocational skills, relative earning power of both spouses
- The contribution of both parties to the value of the marital estate or the dissipation of the marital estate’s assets
- The economic circumstances of both parties after the marital estate has been divided
- Expenses related to the sale of valuable property
- The financial contribution of one party to the educational or vocational skills of the other party
- How long the marriage lasted
- The opportunity of both parties for future income
- Previous marriages of either spouse
- The sources of income for both parties
- The standard of living of both parties that was established during the marriage
- Tax ramifications of the property that has been divided
- The value of the property divided in the divorce
- Which party will be serving as custodian to the children
The role of prenuptial agreements in equitable distribution
A prenuptial agreement can help you protect an asset or property. Prenuptial agreements are broadly enforced by the courts and there are few remedies to negate the prenuptial agreement once it was signed. Those who are looking to protect a business interest from equitable distribution can use a prenuptial agreement to do so. This means that the business would not be considered part of the marital estate and subject to equitable distribution.
It’s important to remember that equity and equality are quite different. In community property states, marital assets are divided 50/50. In Pennsylvania, however, the court is required to determine what would be equitable. It considers the financial disposition of both spouses, their relative earning powers, and a number of other factors mentioned above. One of the most popular uses of a prenuptial agreement is to protect retirement accounts from equitable distribution. Yes, even your retirement account can be divided during a divorce. For more information on equitable distribution and your divorce, call a Philadelphia divorce lawyer today.
Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer
The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of spouses during a divorce. Call our Philadelphia family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin addressing any concerns or questions you may have.