Intermingling assets and debts is a normal part of marriage. When the marriage ends, though, determining exactly who is entitled to what can be a complicated matter.
In Pennsylvania, when two spouses divorce, their marital property is divided based on the principle of equitable distribution. But “equitable” is not necessarily the same thing as “equal,” and divorcing spouses should have a marital property lawyer on their side to ensure that the distribution of assets and debts is fair.
As a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, more couples these days are taking steps prior to or during marriage to ensure that each party’s assets remain separate and not co-mingled. This kind of planning may be particularly suited to spouses who have been married before or who are bringing children from a prior relationship into the marriage.
Still, most spouses do allow their assets and debts to become intertwined, and careful investigation and accounting may be necessary to inventory and accurately value marital assets when a marriage ends. Unfortunately, in some cases, hidden assets are an issue, and outside experts may be needed to uncover the assets and arrive at a fair and equitable distribution.
A full inventory of marital property may include the family home, vehicles, personal property, business assets, retirement plans, stock options, bank accounts and debts. An equitable distribution of these items could involve a range of considerations, including how much each party contributed or sacrificed during the marriage.
Marital property lawyer Eric Bononi, of Bononi & Company, P.C., is a certified public accountant with experience in reaching in-court and out-of-court solutions. To learn more, please see our Greensburg Marital Property overview.