When getting a divorce in Pennsylvania, one of the biggest problems couples grapple with is deciding who gets what. Things become even more complicated based on whether or not couples live in an equitable distribution or common law state versus a community property state.
A Pennsylvania divorce is an emotionally charged process, even if in the best of circumstances. Despite the turmoil at home, the rest of your life must continue. If you or your spouse have a business, chances are it is the largest asset you own. As a result, it becomes part of the settlement, which means an accurate valuation is critical when dividing property. The team at Bononi & Company, P.C., understands the challenges clients face navigating a divorce while operating a business. They help prepare you for the financial decisions that occur throughout the process.
When it comes to the distribution of marital property, many people pay close attention to the financial side of things. After all, property division can be incredibly difficult from a financial perspective. This certainly is not the only way in which property division due to divorce can make life hard for someone, however. Some people may have an especially hard time dealing with this issue from an emotional point of view. Not only are some types of property very special to people, but losing so much in terms of one's assets can also be overwhelming.
In Pennsylvania and across the country, more people are choosing to divorce at an older age. The divorce rate for Americans over 50 has gone up by over 200 percent over the past 20 years and continues to rise. As the rate of these "gray divorces" increases, more senior ex-spouses are dealing with financial issues. Chief among these is the division of retirement plans.
California residents who have gone through a divorce know the challenges associated with dividing property and assets. A relatively new phenomenon has added a wrinkle. It is that of dividing inherited individual retirement accounts. In truth, no one is sure if an inherited IRA can be split during a divorce. In some locations, however, this is what is already happening.
When couples in Pennsylvania move toward divorce, the financial issues surrounding the end of a marriage can be more challenging and difficult than the emotional and practical concerns. In many cases, retirement funds are the most significant and largest asset of a couple handled as part of a divorce settlement. As these savings are often the largest single asset at stake, dealing with them requires a high degree of precision and attention.
Some couples in Pennsylvania that are going through a divorce may face some complexities around property division, such as the division of an art collection. Even if a couple has a prenuptial agreement in place, it may not specifically address the art, or it could be declared invalid.
People in Pennsylvania who are thinking about ending their marriages know that property will be divided between the spouses. What they may not already know is that a 401(k) is also eligible to be divided. It is possible for a court to accept the designation and documentation of a transfer of retirement funds to an ex-spouse as long as they are in line with legal requirements.
Pennsylvanians who are planning to divorce should be aware that their divorce court orders regarding property division may be invalidated if their spouses subsequently file for bankruptcy in certain cases. A recent decision in Georgia illustrated the point that family courts do not have jurisdiction to make orders affecting the ability of bankruptcy courts to decide what debts are dischargeable.
Individuals in Pennsylvania and elsewhere across the country who are hoping to avoid any costly missteps during the divorce process may want to pay particular attention to their options regarding the marital residence. The question of what to do about the house might be best addressed when the parties clearly understand the effect of the divorce on their home, taxes and mortgage.