Property Division in Divorce – Advice from A Philadelphia Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorcing your spouse in Philadelphia, there are a lot more issues that you need to consider than simply separating yourself legally. If you have children, then you need to set up a custody schedule and a financial agreement regarding their support; you may also need to discuss alimony or spousal support. One of the most contentious issues that nearly every couple needs to work their way through is the question of how to divide up the various possessions and assets that have accumulated throughout the time that they have been together. If you need help with property division in divorce, or need advice from a Philadelphia divorce attorney, the professionals at Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law can help.

The laws in the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia are fairly straightforward when it comes to the topic of marital property. The courts define marital property as “all property acquired by either party during the marriage and the increase in value of any non-marital property.” This means that if the couple has earned money or acquired an asset during the time that they have been together then it belongs to both of them, regardless of which of them paid for it or how it came into their possession. It also means that anything that just one of the partners owned or held in their name prior to their marriage needs to be evaluated to see whether it appreciated in its worth, because if it did, then half of the appreciation belongs to the spouse that did not bring it into the marriage.

These can be difficult points for couples that are enmeshed in an acrimonious divorce to adjust themselves to. Some believe that their spouse should leave the marriage with what they came in with, and do not believe that the other is entitled to half of the earnings or appreciation on the assets that were brought to the marriage. Regardless of their discomfort, Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, and that means that property will be divided up by the court in a way that provides each with the value to which they are legally entitled. One important distinction to keep in mind is that the division of property does not necessarily mean that an asset needs to be divided in half. The court can assess value of different assets and can divide the total between each party, so that — for example — one may retain the marital home in its entirety and the other will take the equivalent value in stocks, bonds, or bank accounts.

It is also important to note that the division of property is in no way connected to any kind of conduct or misbehavior within the marriage, and does not get impacted by who filed for the divorce or why. Property division is not a punitive procedure. For more information on how best to divide your marital property in a peaceful and calm way, contact the Philadelphia lawyers at Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law.