The date that a party leaves the marital residence and does not return is a likely candidate to be considered the date of separation for purposes of Equitable Distribution. Courts will generally use the date of separation as the basis for the measurement of the change in the value of most, but not all, marital assets. This change in value is what is put into the pot of marital assets that will be divided between the parties during the Equitable Distribution process.
In Pennsylvania, the date that one party leaves the marital residence could also lead to the award of spousal support, if need is shown, for a dependent spouse. The spouse who is earning more money could potentially be responsible for making regular payments to allow the dependent spouse to maintain their lifestyle. It could be either the party who has left the residence, or the party who remains, who could be forced to pay spousal support.
Additionally, it is a good idea to find and make copies of any important documents before leaving the marital residence. Couples may reconcile following a “trial separation,” however the determination of spousal support requires proof of income and expenses. If it comes to divorce, the division of assets requires a disclosure to your attorney of any assets and debts that you may have. The divorce process will be more efficient and less expensive the more prepared that you are.
Whether you are thinking about leaving, or have already left, it is critically important to consult with an aggressive divorce attorney. Contact our team today!