When a couple wishes to divorce, there are several legal matters for them to consider. One of the most important parts in a divorce is deciding how to divide a couple’s assets between the two of them. Sometimes, a couple is able to figure out how to split their assets amongst themselves without the help of the court. In other cases, both spouses may believe that they should have more than the other. When this happens, a couple may not be able to come to an agreement on their own and need the assistance of the court to settle their disputes. It is important to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the divorce process.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When a couple goes to court in order to decide how to split their assets, a judge will decide how to proceed. The judge will ultimately make the final decision on which spouse receives which assets. The decision is made based upon several things, one of which being the difference between what assets are marital property and separate property. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Marital Property: Any assets that were acquired during the marriage. Any properties acquired before the marriage that was agreed upon as marital property at the start of the relationship are also considered.
- Separate Property: Any assets that were acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay as separate property. This may also include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
While many people believe that assets are divided 50/50 between both spouses, this is not always the case. Pennsylvania is known as an “equitable distribution” state. This means that a couple’s marital assets are not split evenly, but fairly. In order for a judge to determine what is considered fair in dividing assets, they may consider many other factors. Some of these may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequences
When a judge is coming to a fair decision on how to equitably distribute a couple’s assets, they typically do not consider if there is a marital fault. This means that a judge does not consider if one spouse contributed to the end of the marriage. However, a judge may consider if there is an economic fault. This means that if one spouse is corrupt in handling their finances, a judge may sway in favor of the other spouse.
Many couples seek options outside of court proceedings while they are going through a divorce. Mediation is often used by separating couples in order to negotiate and come to agreements without the help of a judge. In mediation, an unbiased third party listens to couples air out their concerns and help them come to a decision that works best for everyone. This method often saves both the couple and the court from overspending through a trial.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.
Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.