Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Equitable Distribution: is it equal in Pennsylvania?

 

Pennsylvania is not a community property state. Community property states, such as California, divide assets in a divorce pretty much equally. In order to get equal division, or at least discretion in your division, you and the other party must either have a pre or post-nuptial agreement specifying terms, or you and the other party may enter into what is known as a marital settlement agreement establishing equal division. A marriage settlement agreement is the equivalent to a consent order between both parties agreeing on the terms of the division of assets.Such agreements are highly recommended by Pennsylvania family lawyers. 

If no such settlement exists in Pennsylvania, the family court has complete discretion over what they deem the appropriate division of assets will be. Therefore, the court can determine what percentages of certain divisible assets they deem appropriate for each party to maintain. This means that division is very likely to be uneven due to disparities in the party's incomes, schedules, needs, etc. The family judges deciding such cases use various statutory factors to aid them in their decision, but ultimately they made divide the assets as they see fit. Additionally, each marital asset receives its own, independent review by the judge and therefore the breakdown of assets may be different for one divisible asset compared to another.

Overall, it is important to remember that anything that is considered marital property in Pennsylvania will be analyzed and divided during equitable distribution. As Pennsylvania is not a community property state, each asset will be individually analyzed and divided according to what the judge views is fair and equitable.  

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