Equitable Distribution in PA generally means the division of assets and debts as a result of a Pennsylvania divorce. This process is typically the most hotly contested issue in divorce litigation – and often times the most costly! Today our attorneys will share with you some of the special issues that arise with equitable distribution.
Issues arising with Equitable Distribution in Pennsylvania:
Exclusive Possession: A Pennsylvania Family Law Court can award temporary possession of the parties’ marital residence to one party during the pendency of the divorce action. This is temporary, however, and this party is not guaranteed to be awarded sole possession of the marital residence as a result of equitable distribution.
Maintenance of Insurance or Retirement Benefits: During the equitable distribution process, the court can direct a spouse to obtain a life insurance policy or health insurance policy for coverage and for the benefit of the other spouse. Also, a court can direct a party to maintain the beneficiary designations of retirement benefits as part of equitable distribution.
Gifts and Inheritance: Property acquired by gift, bequest, or devise received by an individual spouse (and not gifted to the married couple as a pair) is excluded from marital property and not subject to equitable distribution. Property that is exchanged for gifted or inherited property is excluded from equitable distribution. On the other hand, gifts that are acquired by the spouses jointly are considered marital property and are subject to equitable distribution.
Property specifically excluded by a premarital agreement: More commonly known as a “pre-nup” or “post-nup” – the parties can exclude specific pieces of property from their spouse upon divorce as enumerated in the parties’ agreement. What does this mean for Equitable Distribution? The parties now cannot have this piece of property as part of the “pot” of all assets to be distributed.
Custodial Funds for Children: Children’s UTMA/UGMA custodial funds are not to be considered for purposes of equitable distribution. These funds are within the jurisdiction of the Orphan’s Court and not within Family Division.
Commingling: When non-marital property is sold and the proceeds of that sale are “commingled” or mixed in with marital funds to purchase new property, that new property is considered marital property for purposes of equitable distribution.
“Double-Dipping“: If a party is awarded an asset in equitable distribution, then that same asset cannot be counted as a source of income for alimony or support.
Have questions about equitable distribution and how to receive a fair distribution in your case? Contact our Pittsburgh divorce attorneys today!