Philadelphia Divorce Law

Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers

Relationships, especially marriages, are not always easy and sometimes a marriage ends in divorce. This is common all over the country including the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Deciding to end a marriage via divorce is never easy as there are many decisions that need to be made and these decisions will impact you well after the divorce is final. This is especially true if children are involved. Another factor that can make family law issues in Philadelphia is one of the parents or spouses being deployed in the military.

Determining A Businesses Value In A Pennsylvania Divorce

According to Pennsylvania divorce law when a marriage dissolves all marital property, as well as marital debt, gets distributed via equitable distribution. One very common aspect of marital property are business assets, profits and interests that were accumulated during the marriage. When going through a divorce it is imperative that your legal rights, as well as financial interests, are protected. This can be accomplished by retaining an experienced divorce lawyer serving the entire Philadelphia metropolitan area which includes Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties.

Designating A Dollar Amount To The Business

Assigning a dollar amount to your business is a very complex task. At the Philadelphia family law office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. we will do everything necessary to protect your rights and interests during this trying time. This includes bringing in subject matter experts when determining the true value of your business. These experts can include accountants, financial planners and tax specialists.

When determining the value of your business during a divorce nothing is left to chance. All aspects of your business will be examined. These can include:

  • Tax information
  • Financial records
  • Balance sheets
  • Equipment lists
  • Real estate
  • Intellectual property
  • Inventory
  • Spouse’s participation

Pennsylvania Equitable Distribution Laws

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. It is one of the few states in the country that is not a community property state. The Pennsylvania family court system divides marital property and debts based on the principles of equity. This means it is up to the court to divide marital assets and marital debts as it sees fair. Unfortunately, equitable distribution does not always involve equal distribution of assets, debts and property. One of the primary objectives during a Philadelphia divorce is to achieve an equitable, or fair, distribution of property, retirement accounts and investment accounts.

Factors Considered In Equitable Distribution

According to Pennsylvania divorce law fault is not a factor taken into consideration during equitable distribution. Pennsylvania courts typically consider the following in determining equitable distribution:

  • Length of marriage
  • Previous marriages
  • Age of both parties
  • Health of both parties
  • Income of both parties
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
  • If one party served as the primary homemaker
  • Employability of both parties
  • Amount of non-marital assets
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Who will have custody of children when applicable
  • Did either person help the advancement of the other’s income
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Tax implications

Marital Property or Marital Assets

If a marriage settlement agreement cannot be agreed upon before entering the court system, the court takes it upon itself to divide the marital assets. They do this in a very fair and just way given the particular circumstances of the cases. Marital assets are also referred to as marital property. Marital assets can include a home, cars, furniture, businesses owned by the parties, jewelry, art, investments and retirement accounts. Anything purchased during the period of time considered as the marriage will be deemed marital property, even if it was purchased or put in only one party’s name. For example, even if your name does not appear on the title to a vehicle purchased by your spouse during your marriage you may be entitled to half of that vehicle.

Non-Marital Assets or Separate Property

Pennsylvania law allows separate or non-marital assets to be omitted from the equitable distribution process. Any property protected by an existing prenuptial agreement will not be included in the equitable distribution. Any property brought into the marriage and kept separate during the marriage is also considered non-marital property. Gifts received by just one spouse during the marriage may also be kept separate. Inheritances received before or during the marriage that are kept separate may also be excluded. However, if the value of any of the non-marital property increases during the marriage, the increase in value may be considered marital property. If a spouse chooses to use non-marital funds for a common purchase, like buying a home, that money will often be considered marital property.

Marital Debts

In Pennsylvania, marital debts are defined as debts that were acquired by either spouse after the marriage date and before the date of separation. Common marital debts include credit card bills, mortgages, car loans, home equity loans, tax obligations and judgments. Even if a credit card was only in one spouse’s name, if the credit card was used during the marriage, both parties have an obligation to repay the debt.

Hidden Assets

Divorces usually get messy and ugly and unfortunately the high road is not always taken. The Philadelphia divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. have helped many clients locate hidden assets and income that a spouse may possess in an attempt to wrongly and fraudulently attempt to keep a marital asset for themselves.

Occasionally someone will try to hide assets in order to pay less or receive more support. The divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. offers each client an individual solution for remedies sought such as:

  • Requesting the court impose a lien as security for the payment for alimony or any other award for the other party
  • Awarding the right to live in the marital property to one party to the exclusion of the other
  • Requesting the court to direct one party to continue to pay health insurance or life insurance on behalf of the other party
  • Requesting special relief, including injunctions or orders necessary to prevent the removal, dissipation, transferring or encumbering of real or personal property

The Pennsylvania Divorce Code

The Pennsylvania Divorce Code controls your divorce if you do not agree on the division of property and debts on your own. If you have a pre-nuptial agreement that does not include something that is available to you according to Pennsylvania Law, you may still be able to assert those rights.

If you are considering a divorce or have questions about the division of property after a divorce, contact a Philadelphia divorce attorney at The Law Office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. today.

It is important that you deal with an experienced family law attorney who will walk you through the divorce and equitable distribution process and make sure that nothing is left out of your settlement.

Finding Hidden Assets During A Divorce In Pennsylvania

When facing the demise of a marriage, it is not uncommon for spouses to suspect that marital assets may be hidden. Unfortunately, many times they are as spouses, particularly the primary wage earner, begin to focus more on the financial aspect of the divorce vs. what is best for the adults and orchildren. In some cases assets may be hidden by transfer to a third party, there may be outright denial of the existence of the asset(s), creation of false debt, or other fraudulent schemes.

It is imperative that you remember that during a divorce you have rights and interests that need to be protected. The divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. can help with as they work directly with experts such as, financial experts and private investigators in order to locate such assets and gather the evidence needed to obtain what is rightfully owed to the rightful party.

Pennsylvania family law imposes fiduciary disclosure duties on spouses. This is the duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing with each spouse, where neither party shall take any unfair advantage of the other. These duties continue even after the end of the marriage; they extend to full financial disclosure. Through the discovery process, and the powers of the court, marital assets can be traced, located and equitably divided.

The Philadelphia divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. possess many years of experience locating assets and obtaining the most favorable outcome for its clients. They begin with basic steps, and make certain that no stone is left unturned—that an exhaustive search is conducted to identify all potential hidden assets.

One thing spouses sometimes forget when considering divorce is that they both have rights and interests and they both need to be protected legally. This is where having a skilled and experienced Philadelphia divorce attorney from The Law Office of Jensen Bagnato, P.C. can help immensely.

Mr. Jensen and his staff offer free consultations for those enduring divorce as well as other family law issues related to divorce such as child support,child custody and spousal support. Call their Walnut Street law office today to discuss your case.