Common Misconceptions About Dividing Marital Assets and Debt in Pennsylvania

A number of different misconceptions are commonplace among people in Pennsylvania contemplating divorce. One of the more persistent misperceptions is that assets and debts are divided equally during divorce proceedings. In fact, that is not the standard applied in divorce cases in Pennsylvania when it comes to dividing marital assets.

The Equitable Division of Marital Assets and Debts Standard

The commonwealth of Pennsylvania utilizes what is known as the equitable division standard when it comes to the division of assets and debts in a divorce case. The equitable division standard does not require an equal division of assets and debts in a divorce case.

The equitable division standard mandates that the assets and debts of a divorcing couple be divided in a manner that is fair and equitable under the facts and circumstances of a particular case. The court can consider an array of factors in making this decision.

The Community Property Standard

The community property standard which is in place in about a dozen U.S. states – but, myths aside, not Pennsylvania. This standard mandates that the assets and debts accumulated by spouses during a marriage are to be denied equally between them during divorce proceedings. There are exceptions to this rule, but that is the essential standard upon which marital assets are dealt with during divorce proceedings in those states that apply the community property standard.

Marital Assets Defined

Marital assets (and debts) represent that property (and debt) accumulated by the parties during the course and term of the marriage. Property and financial obligations incurred by one of the parties prior to the commencement of a marriage are not considered marital assets and debts. Non-marital assets and debts are not subject to division during a divorce case.

Retaining a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney

Because the division of assets and debts truly depends on the specific facts and circumstances of a case, a divorcing spouse must have a strong, experienced advocate on his or her side. A Pennsylvania divorce attorney will schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation with a prospective client to discuss strategies in regard to marital assets and debts during divorce proceedings.