Division of Assets Attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
The division of assets is a major source of contention in almost every divorce. When ending a marriage, deciding who gets the house, car, and other types of property acquired during the marriage can be a tough undertaking. Decisions regarding the division of assets can have ramifications that extend far into the future after a divorce is finalized.
Our team at the Law Office of MariAnn Hathaway understands that property division (and divorce in general) can take a toll on you and your future. We also understand your frustration over splitting assets, which is why our division of assets attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, can help you navigate this tumultuous time. We provide our family law services to clients throughout Washington County.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is among the many states that follow the principles of equitable distribution. Equitable distribution means that all assets classified as “marital property” will be divided fairly between spouses. Pennsylvania law requires courts to consider dozens of factors to achieve a fair allocation of property.
However, before the division of property occurs, the couple’s assets should be categorized into marital and separate property:
Separate property includes any assets acquired by the spouses before getting married. In addition, any assets acquired before or during the marriage through inheritance or gift are generally considered separate property, with the exception of gifts between spouses.
Marital property includes any assets that spouses acquired jointly and individually after getting married. Increases in the value of the separate property may also be considered marital property (this often applies to certain retirement plans).
Things get more complicated when commingling occurs. For the purposes of property division, commingling refers to the mixing of separate property with marital property, which causes the former to lose its protected status. For example, if a spouse sells their vehicle purchased before the marriage and uses the proceeds from the sale to place them into a joint account with their spouse, it may be a case of commingling.
Who Determines How Assets Are Divided?
As mentioned earlier, Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state for dividing assets in divorce. Marital property is divided based on a judge’s determination of what’s fair for the couple’s unique circumstances.
There is no need to take a property division case to court if the couple can reach an agreement regarding the asset distribution outside of court and document it with a marital settlement agreement.
However, if no settlement is reached, the couple’s property division case will go to court. When this happens, the judge will first have to classify which assets and debts are marital and which ones are separate. Then, the court will assign a monetary value to each asset subject to equitable division and consider a variety of factors to ensure that the assets are distributed equitably.
Factors Considered in Asset Division in Pennsylvania
Courts in Pennsylvania consider a number of factors when dividing assets between spouses to ensure that the division is fair and equitable under the law. Some of the factors that may affect the equitable distribution of assets in Pennsylvania include:
How long the marriage has lasted.
Whether any spouse had previous marriages.
Each spouse’s income and employability.
The health and age of both spouses.
The standard of living established during the marriage.
Each spouse’s separate property.
Which spouse will have primary custody rights (if spouses share any children).
The tax implications of divorce.
Unlike other states, Pennsylvania does not require courts to consider either spouse’s fault in causing the end of a marriage (e.g., adultery) when making decisions regarding the division of assets.
How a Division of Assets Attorney Can Help
Property division is usually the most complicated and contentious aspect of getting a divorce. For this reason, the assistance of an attorney is necessary to ensure that your rights and best interests are protected. Here are some of the ways a division of assets attorney can help:
Explaining your rights regarding the division of assets.
Advocating for your interests to ensure you receive what you are entitled to.
Negotiating a division without court involvement to ensure that you have complete control over who gets what.
Valuing and classifying the assets to safeguard your separate property and ensure that you are awarded a fair share of marital property.
Calculating and dividing debts to shield you from responsibility for your spouse’s debts and ensure that everything is accounted for.
Resolving disputes with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
Representing you during litigation and court proceedings.
Our attorney at the Law Office of MariAnn Hathaway has successfully handled many divorce cases throughout Washington County, including Canonsburg, and can provide you with the legal counsel you need to guide you toward a favorable outcome.
Division of Assets Attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Our asset division attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, provides sound guidance and seasoned representation to clients going through divorce. We take a meticulous and detail-oriented approach when it comes to protecting clients’ interests to ensure that they leave the marriage in a solid financial position. Reach out to our office to request a case evaluation and start planning your strategy.