Going through a divorce can sometimes be a very challenging process. It requires a great amount of time, patience, and legal decisions. A large part of divorce proceedings is coming to a decision on how to divide a couple’s assets between the two of them. In some cases, spouses are able to come to a decision amongst themselves without the help of the court. In other cases, they may both believe that they are entitled to more than the other. These disagreements often cause couples to come to court in order to settle the dispute. An experienced attorney in York County, Pennsylvania can guide you through your divorce proceedings.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
If a couple needs the assistance of the court in order to divide their assets, a judge will be in charge of coming to the decision. In order to do so, the judge will need to decipher which of the couple’s assets are considered to be marital property and which are separate property. The differences between the two properties are as follows:
- Marital Property: Any assets and debts gathered during the marriage. Any properties before the marriage that were decided as marital property at the start of the relationship are also included.
- Separate Property: Any assets and debts gathered before the marriage and agreed to stay separate. This can include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
It is a common misconception that a couple’s assets are divided equally amongst the two spouses if they decide to divorce. However, this is not necessarily true. Pennsylvania follows the rule of “equitable distribution” throughout the state. This means that a court does not divide a couple’s assets equally, but in a fair and just manner. To come to a fair decision, a judge may consider many other factors. Some of these may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
It is often the case that judges do not consider marital fault when coming to a decision on how to distribute assets. This means that they typically do not look into the reason for the end of the marriage. However, they may consider if a spouse is at economic fault due to irresponsibly handling their assets. In the event of this, a court may distribute assets in favor of the more responsible spouse.
When a couple decides to divorce, they sometimes seek methods outside of a courtroom to settle their issues. Mediation is often a helpful method that allows couples to negotiate their issues in order to come to an agreement. During mediation, an unbiased third party listens to the concerns of both spouses and helps them come to an amicable decision. This gives a couple the opportunity to divide their assets without the guidance of a judge.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact the Law Offices of Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today.
The divorce process can be challenging, but our team at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein are dedicated to fighting for your best interests. Since 1999, our York divorce lawyers have guided our clients through this emotional and stressful time with compassionate client service and results-driven legal counsel.