Philadelphia Property Division Lawyer
Property Division in a Pennsylvania Divorce
No matter how long you’ve been married, you and your spouse have likely acquired a significant amount of property together. These assets may include a home, cars, investment property, expensive home furnishings, joint bank accounts, investment accounts and more. You may have acquired a significant amount of debt as well, including a home mortgage, car loans, and joint credit card debt. What happens to all of this property (and debt) when you divorce? How is it divided? Pennsylvania has laws and rules in place regarding how to distribute marital property in a divorce, but the process leaves family law judges with a lot of discretion about how to divide assets and liabilities. It’s crucial to have a skilled and knowledgeable divorce lawyer represent you in this process to make sure you are well-represented and treated fairly in this process. Learn more below about property division in a Pennsylvania divorce, and contact the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane to discuss your needs and concerns with an experienced Philadelphia property division lawyer.
How is property divided in a Pennsylvania divorce?
Pennsylvania law on property rights in a divorce requires an “equitable division” of marital property. The court is required to make this equitable distribution without regard to marital misconduct, and in a manner the court deems just after considering all relevant factors. In other words, the court does not have to distribute the property equally between the spouses, so long as the overall division is fair.
When deciding on what makes an equitable distribution, the court considers over a dozen different factors, including the following:
- The duration of the marriage
- Whether either party has been married previously
- The age and health of the parties
- Each party’s station in life and economic circumstances at the time of the property division
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The income, skills, and employability of each spouse
- Each spouse’s estate, including liabilities
- Whether one party contributed to the education, training or increased earning capacity of the other
- How much each party contributed to the appreciation or depreciation of marital property, including contributions to the household as a homemaker
- The value of the separate property
- Tax implications of the property division
- Which party will be serving as the custodian of any minor children
Some of these factors can be fairly easily and objectively established, while others are more subjective and arguable. At the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane, we can help by building a strong, evidence-based case around the relevant factors and presenting that case to the judge in a compelling and convincing manner.
What is “marital property”?
It is important to know the court only divides the parties’ marital property. Each spouse leaves the marriage with their own separate or non-marital property, as well as their share of the marital property as distributed by the court. As a general rule, marital property means all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, as well as the increase in value to certain nonmarital property. Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be marital regardless of how title is held, but this presumption can be overcome with competent evidence showing the property was meant to be owned separately.
The statute defining marital property specifically excludes:
- Property acquired before marriage
- Property excluded by a valid agreement, such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Property acquired by gift or inheritance
- Property acquired after final separation, except for property acquired in exchange for marital assets
- Certain veterans’ benefits
- Certain mortgaged property
- A settlement or award for a claim which accrued before the marriage or after separation
The determination of whether a particular asset (or liability) is marital or separate can be quite complicated. Philadelphia divorce lawyer Lauren H. Kane is experienced in complex divorce cases involving high net worth couples and complicated asset situations. When the property division in your Philadelphia divorce is contested, count on the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane to advocate strongly and effectively for your rights and important property interests.
Get the Help You Need in the Equitable Distribution of Property in a Philadelphia Divorce
For help with the property division in your Philadelphia divorce, call the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane at 215-238-9529 to discuss your concerns with a skilled and experienced Philadelphia property division lawyer.