Basics Of Equitable Distribution

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Equitable distribution, the process in Pennsylvania by which the Court divides marital assets and debts between the two parties, can on occasion be complicated and sometimes even contentious. For the middle class American couple, equitable distribution can require substantial time for both the PA divorce attorney and the party, as all of the marital and non-marital assets and debts are calculated and divided up, either by the court or in a Marriage Settlement Agreement.

When you’re one of the most wealthy Americans, such as Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, then the equitable distribution process can affect not only your assets, but also your company. Joly, who was born in France and reportedly is currently living near Best Buy headquarters in Minnesota, has recently settled his divorce with his ex-spouse. According to Best Buy representatives, the sale of the stock was to help Joly fund his divorce settlement, with the sale of $17 million worth of stock options. This sale probably represented approximately 20% of Joly’s stake in the company.

Most divorces end with a negotiated divorce settlement. There are several benefits to this, primarily that by negotiating between the parties, as opposed to leaving the division to the Court, it is likely that each party will receive more of what they want, and less of what they don’t want. These settlements are called Marriage Settlement Agreements, which allow both divorce attorneys to negotiate as to who gets which assets. In some cases, the parties may decide to exchange money, which would lead to an asset being sold, such as in this case with Joly’s Best Buy stocks, in order to receive a monetary equivalent for the stocks.

Minnesota, the state where Joly reportedly lives, also utilizes equitable distribution for the purpose of distributing marital assets, which makes it likely that the settlement reflected an analysis of what is fair. Equitable distribution in Pennsylvania takes into account several statutory factors, including but not limited to the length of the marriage, the contribution of each party to the marriage, and the relative income and future earning capacity of each party. In Joly’s case, his extremely high income and future earning capacity were likely considered, as well as the length of their marriage and their respective efforts spent raising their two children.

Whatever your financial situation, you deserve to receive a fair share of the assets that you worked hard to accumulate. Our Pittsburgh divorce attorneys have the experience to negotiate a fair settlement for you, or to argue your position before the court. Contact us today!