When going through a divorce, one of the most complicated steps can be the separation of property. For divorces that raise equitable distribution claims, the court will want to know what marital property exists so the property can be split between the parties. Before any property can be distributed, the first step is to decide what marital property exists.
In Pennsylvania, marital property has been defined to include all property acquired by either party during the marriage. Martial property can also include the increase in value of any non-marital property that was acquired prior to the marriage or any gift received. For example, if one party bought some property before getting married, then that property is not marital property as it was acquired before the marriage. However, if that property was worth $1000 on the date of marriage, and $2000 at the time of separation, then the increase in value of $1000 may be considered marital property that must be divided during the divorce.
Pennsylvania also has a list of property that is considered non-marital by nature. Non-marital property can include any property acquired prior to the marriage, any gift given to one spouse by a third party, and any property excluded by operation of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Also, property acquired after the date of separation is not considered marital property as long as it was not exchanged for marital assets. Some veteran benefits may also be excluded from the marital property pool. Also, any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for a claim that occurred prior to marriage or after the date of separation will be considered non-marital.