In Pennsylvania, “equitable distribution” is the process of splitting up assets and debts from a marriage, including who gets custody of the children. Unlike other community property states, Pennsylvania is known for being an equitable distribution state.
Experienced Equitable Distribution Lawyer in Reading, Pennsylvania
At Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., we divide up assets and debts from a marriage based on the idea of equity. This means that each lawyer must argue why a particular party should receive which assets and liabilities. We seek a fair or equitable distribution of property rather than an even allocation of assets and liabilities.
The equitable distribution procedure does not take into account blame or marital misconduct. Reading, PA, courts may consider the following factors when determining equitable distribution:
- Duration of the marriage
- Previous unions
- Both parties’ ages
- Both parties’ well-being
- Both parties income
- Premarital contracts
- Donations made by one party to the other party’s education.
- Both parties’ standards of living
- Tax obligations
- Did either partner contribute to the other’s income growth during the marriage?
- Custody of the kids
- The total value of non-marital assets
- Both parties’ employment options
Marital Asset or Marital Property Distribution in Reading, PA
If an agreement cannot be reached before going to court, the court will divide the marital assets in the manner it deems just given the facts of the case. The couple’s homes, cars, furniture, businesses, jewelry, works of art, investments, and retirement accounts are all considered marital assets. The terms “marital property” and “marital assets” are interchangeable.
Even if something is bought or registered in only one person’s name, it is still considered marital property because it was bought or registered during the time the couple was married. For example, even if your name is not on the title, you may be entitled to a share of a vehicle purchased by your husband during your marriage.
Even if an item was bought or registered in only one person’s name, it would still be considered marital property because it was part of the property that was acquired during the marriage.
For example, even if your name is not on the title, you may be entitled to a share of a vehicle purchased by your husband during your marriage. Also, non-marital assets are often thought of as marital property when they are used to buy something together, like a home or the dividends or interest from a savings account.
Non-Marital Assets or Separate Property in Reading, PA
Under Pennsylvania law, separate or non-marital assets can be left out of the fair distribution process. Any assets that were left out of a prenuptial agreement won’t be taken into account in the fair distribution. Non-marital property also includes any items brought into the marriage but kept separate throughout the marriage. It is also possible to keep gifts received by only one spouse during the marriage.
It is also possible to exclude gifts given to a person prior to or during a marriage but kept separate. But if the value of a non-marital asset goes up while the couple is married, the increase can be considered marital property.
Marital Debts in Reading, PA
In Pennsylvania, marital debts are debts that either partner took on after they got married but before they split up. Credit card balances, auto loans, mortgages, tax debts, home equity loans, and judgments are the most common marital debts. Even if a credit card was only in one spouse’s name, if it was used while the couple was still married, both people are liable.
The lawyers at Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., believe that working together to make a property settlement agreement is the best way to come to an agreement about how to divide up marital assets and debts. They help many clients with property division by drafting a fair and mutually agreeable marriage settlement agreement.
Pensions and 401(k) Plans
If you get divorced, any pension, 401(k), stock plan, stock options, deferred compensation, or other retirement benefits you earned while you were married are considered marital property and must be split with your spouse.
You may be able to negotiate a deal or trade other assets if you want to keep your pension or retirement. People will sometimes try to conceal their assets in order to pay less or receive more assistance. A spouse may hide assets and income in order to keep a marital asset without permission or by lying.
Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., have been able to help clients figure out such cases.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys for Assistance Today!
If you are considering divorce or have questions about property division. It is very important that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney who can help you through the process of equitable distribution and make sure that all assets and debts from the marriage are taken care of.
Contact Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., to schedule an initial consultation to review your rights.