A Pennsylvania divorce has many issues that will be in dispute. While child custody, child support and spousal support frequently come to the forefront, property division is a common source for a contentious back and forth between the parties. Real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts and automobiles are generally considered prominently in a divorce, but there are other aspects of property division. That includes items of sentimental value and collectibles. Understanding the law is essential for a satisfactory and reasonable outcome.

When marital property is assessed as part of the divorce, the items that were accrued by either spouse while they were married will be viewed as belonging to both spouses. If there was a property that one or the other owned entering the marriage and it appreciated in value, that rise in value could also be considered marital property. There are, however, items that will not be categorized as marital property under the law.

The following is not marital property: property accrued before the marriage or property that was acquired in exchange for that which was acquired before the marriage; property that was subject to a prior agreement between the parties that it would not be considered marital property; gifts or inheritances from others outside the marriage; property that was acquired after the couple was separated and before they divorced; property sold or disposed of before the separation; veterans’ benefits; and award payments for a claim that was made before the marriage or following the separation.

Pennsylvania is a state that uses equitable division meaning that the court decides what is fair and does not adhere to a full and automatic split 50-50. Property division can be problematic even in cases where the sides are on relatively amicable terms. Regardless of the situation, having legal assistance is a protective measure with all areas of family law, especially property division. Consulting with a firm experienced in divorce may be helpful in dealing with these issues.