Divorce and Equitable Distribution
Pennsylvania is an “equitable distribution” state, and this distinction in the law determines how a divorcing couple’s property will be divided or “distributed” by the courts in a Pennsylvania divorce. That means what happens in your divorce may not be at all what you expect or have heard about. Splitting everything you own in half is not required by the law in Pennsylvania and not what’s likely to happen here unless there is substantial parity in several major factors including income, health, employment security, and non-marital property. In the absence of such parity, a disadvantaged spouse may be entitled to a higher-than-equal share of the marital property.
In fact, because Pennsylvania judges must consider ten different factors outlined in the Divorce Code when making a decision on property distribution, your situation may not be similar at all to your brother’s divorce, your neighbor’s divorce, or your friend’s. You need an experienced and knowledgeable family lawyer to understand what’s likely to happen in your case.
The first thing the family lawyers at Timoney Knox will work with you to do is to identify any assets which will be subject to equitable distribution, such as homes, investment or retirement accounts, business interests, and the like. We will also gather other information that is relevant in a divorce and property distribution: How long were you married? Did you stay at home with the children and give up on your education so your spouse could start and grow a business or profession? Are there children who still need you at home so that you really cannot work or pursue a career at this time? All of these factors are relevant in a divorce and property distribution. (What may be surprising to some is that “marital misconduct” is not relevant to determining property division in a Pennsylvania divorce.)
A Timoney Knox family lawyer can help you to determine which assets are subject to equitable distribution in a divorce and then negotiate a fair property settlement agreement or achieve a just result in court. Call us. We can help.