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Pennsylvania's marital property laws: Equitable division

In Pennsylvania, all of the property that is obtained during your marriage will be considered marital property. Pennsylvania is not a community property state, so you don't have to worry about all your property, regardless of when it was purchased, being split in a divorce.

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. When you get a divorce, you and your spouse can work out a plan for property division, or you can provide that information to your attorneys to negotiate. If that doesn't work, you can also submit the information to the court for a determination on the split of that property.

The court will not likely split your property in half, so to speak, and instead will review many aspects of your marriage to determine a split that is fair. Equitable is not the same as equal. There are many factors that will determine how your property is split, some of which include the obligation for spousal support in a previous marriage, your income and liabilities, the income and liabilities of your spouse, tax consequences of the division of property, the age and health of the spouses and the ability of either spouse to provide for him or herself.

There may be other factors as well, so it's important to take these into account when your negotiating a settlement with the other party. It is in your best interest to negotiate a settlement that you are happy with; if the case goes to the judge, he or she will determine how your assets are split, and all decisions are final in that case.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Marital Property Laws," accessed June 24, 2016

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