In Pennsylvania, equitable distribution is the process in which marital property is divided among spouses. Generally, marital property is all property acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation with certain exceptions. The following are examples of marital property:
- Property acquired by either party during the marriage, no matter whose name the property is in.
- The increase in value, until the date of final separation, of non-marital property acquired by gift or inheritance.
- The increase in value of property owned prior to the marriage or property acquired in exchange for property owned prior to the marriage until the date of final separation.
If non-marital property did not increase in value during the marriage, it remains with the spouse whose name it is in and the other spouse has no claim to it.
The following are examples of non-marital property:
- Property acquired before marriage or property exchanged for premarital property.
- Property excluded by agreement.
- Property acquired by gift, except between spouses or inheritance.
- Property acquired after final separation, except where it has been exchanged for marital property.
- Property which was sold, conveyed or otherwise disposed of in good faith and for value prior to the date of separation.
- Certain veterans’ benefits.
- Property to the extent that it has been mortgaged or liened in good faith and for value, prior to the date of final separation.
- Payments received as a result of an award or settlement for a cause of action which occurred before the marriage or after the date of final separation.
Equitable distribution does not mean equal distribution as the court must consider many factors when dividing marital property. Many times, a spouse who has a significantly lower income will receive a higher percentage of the assets.
For more questions about Equitable Distribution, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys.