Throughout a marriage couples earn money and buy and acquire a number of assets. This property could include homes, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, businesses, collectables and other items. During the marriage both spouses generally are able to enjoy all of the property that they have each acquired. However, if the couple ends up going through a divorce, they will no longer be able to share everything and will need to divide the life they shared together.
When a couple goes through a divorce, they will need to divide their marital property. This includes most property the parties acquired during the marriage, with a couple of exceptions. It does not matter which spouse earned the money or which spouse’s name is on the title to the property. If it was earned during the marriage, the couple will generally have to divide it. The property will be divided equitably, which does not necessarily mean that it will be divided equally.
Factors used to determine an equitable division of property
Judges will analyze a number of factors to determine a fair division of the couple’s property. The factors they will analyze include, but are not limited to:
- The income each spouse earns and their ability to provide for themselves
- The age and health of each spouse and expected retirement ages
- How long the marriage lasted
- Tax consequences associated with the division of property
- The debts each spouse is responsible for
- Other factors that help determine a fair division
Couples can acquire a large amount of assets during a marriage in Pennsylvania. This can make the division of those assets difficult during a divorce. Sometimes simply trying to determine the value of the various types of property can be difficult. This process can involve various appraisals and the use of forensic accountants depending on the types of assets that the couple owns. Experienced attorneys understand this process though and may be able to guide one through it.