Experienced Equitable Distribution Law Attorneys in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Unlike many other community property states, Pennsylvania is an “equitable distribution state.” When a couple is in the process of dividing marital debts and marital assets during a divorce, the legal term is “equitable distribution.” This means the courts use the principles of equity to divide assets and marital debts.
In a nutshell, it is in the court’s discretion to divide the marital debts and marital assets, as it seems fair. Don’t think, though, that fair distribution means splitting the debts and property equally. Equitable distribution aims to accomplish a fair or equitable distribution of property.
More importantly, during equitable distribution, marital misconduct or “fault” is not considered. What is taken into consideration includes:
- The length of the current and previous marriages (if any)
- The health, age, and income of both partners
- The tax implications
- Income for both parties
- Prenuptial agreements
- The amount of non-marital assets
- Whether or not one party helped advance the other’s earnings
- When applicable, who will have custody of the children
- How employable are both partners?
- The standard of living during their marriage
Marital Assets or Marital Property in Lancaster, PA
If the two people can’t agree on how to divide their marital property before going to court in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the courts will do it the way they think is best given the specifics of the case.
Remember, marital property and marital assets mean the same thing. They can include items such as jewelry, cars, a home, furniture, art, businesses owned by both parties, retirement accounts, and investments.
Any of these bought during the marriage will be considered marital property, regardless of whether it was bought or put in one spouse’s name.
Separate Property or Non-Marital Assets in Lancaster, PA
Under Pennsylvania law, non-marital or separate assets are legally permitted to be left out of the equitable distribution process. Also, any assets that were left out of the prenuptial agreement will not be included in the process of dividing assets fairly.
Also, any asset that was brought into the marriage and inheritances gained during or before the marriage that was kept separate shall also be labeled as a “non-marital asset.”
But properties that were owned before the marriage can become marital assets if their value goes up during the marriage. Also, money from outside the marriage can be considered marital property if one partner uses it to buy something for both of them.
Marital Debts in Lancaster, PA
Pennsylvania law defines marital debts as debts that either party acquired during the period between their marriage date and their separation date. Some of the more common marital debts include mortgages, credit card bills, tax obligations, home equity loans, judgments, and car loans, just to name a few.
You must note that both parties are responsible for any credit card bills, even if they were in one party’s name, as long as they were used during the marriage.
401(k) and Pension Plans in Lancaster, PA
If you acquired any part of your deferred compensation, stock options, stock plan, 401(k), pension, or other retirement incentives during the period of your marriage, that part is marital property. Accordingly, it must be shared with the other party when you divorce.
You can come to an agreement or trade other assets if you wish to keep your retirement or pension intact.
Why Should You Hire an Equitable Distribution Lawyer in Lancaster, PA?
There are several reasons why you should hire an experienced equitable distribution attorney to assist you in getting the most justifiable settlement for your case. Some of them include the following:
- Identifying Hidden Assets– Unfortunately, spouses seeking to hide property from each other is a common issue in the event of a divorce. However, our elite attorneys can help find essential assets that can influence the outcome of the case. Our highly skilled team has the expertise, experience, and resources to find hidden marital property. These include private investigators, forensic accountants, and other professionals.
- Ascertaining if it is Marital Property– Most fights during a divorce are about whether something is a debt or an asset. When dividing marital assets and debts, our team will determine whether a specific source of funds that one party claims is a marital asset and the other claims is not, or vice versa, is true or false. Our attorneys can protect your non-marital assets from being included in the equitable division. On the other hand, we will ensure fair marital asset compensation even if your former spouse untruthfully claims it is non-marital.
Get Top-Notch Equitable Distribution Attorneys in Lancaster, Pennsylvania!
If you need more information about the division of property or are considering divorce, we’ve got you covered. At Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., we provide the best legal representation in family law. We are a law firm with experienced, caring, and devoted lawyers who will help all of our clients in a quick and reliable way.
Our team of lawyers is understanding of your situation and will do everything they can to help you win your case. Get a world-class equitable distribution law attorney at Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C.
Visit our office in Lancaster, PA, or call us at 717-276-0119 for a free 30-minute consultation!