When a couple forms a lasting relationship, they often consider everything shared property. While spouses are quick to say, “what’s mine is yours,” during their union, this is often a different story when they part ways due to divorce. Property division can be a very contentious issue, resulting in major disputes during the dissolution process. Thus, it is important that spouses in Pennsylvania fully understand property division laws when it comes to divorcing in the state.

Marital property laws

In the state of Pennsylvania, all property acquired by the couple during the marriage is considered to be marital property and subjected to division during a divorce. This is unlike certain states that recognize community property, which considers all property to be jointly owned.

With regards to separate property, this is property tat is owned by only one spouse. Typically, this is property that was acquired or purchased before marriage or after the marriage through gift, bequest or devise. Property that was purchased with money earned before the marriage is considered separate property. With regards to a business being separate property, this is dependent on various factors, such as when it started, where the value of the business comes from and what is done with the revenue.

Marital property and property division

In most cases, this covers the money earned and property acquired during the marriage. The state of Pennsylvania is an equitable division state. This means that the property of the couple with be divided in a way that is considered fair. This is base don various factors, including the income and liabilities of each spouse, the obligations for spousal support in a previous marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the expected pensions and retirement benefits, the ability of each spouse to provide for his or herself, tax consequences resulting from the division of property and any other factor the court considered to be important.

Much like no marriage is perfect, no divorce is perfect. Moving forward with a divorce can be emotional and scary; however, it can be a fairly straightforward and painless process if spouses are able to see eye-to-eye and reach an equitable agreement. While this may be the reality for some, it isn’t for other. Therefore, it is important to understand one’s rights as they move forward with the divorce process and resolve any disputes that arise.