If you’re considering a divorce, you may have many questions. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around out there about divorce, and not everything you hear is accurate or applies to your situation. It’s only normal to wonder what to expect and try to figure out what the likely outcome to your divorce will be.
The truth is that every divorce is different, because the facts of the marriage are different. Discrepancies in income, the length of your marriage and even the number of children can influence how the courts handle a divorce. It’s common for you and your spouse to disagree on issues like co-parenting and dividing your assets.
However, informing yourself about the law and standard practices of divorce courts in Pennsylvania can help you understand the most likely results of divorcing, including how they will handle the division of your assets.
Pennsylvania courts strive for equitable distribution of assets
When you get married, you combine with your spouse to form one household. Generally speaking, that often means that anything you acquire in your marriage, including valuable assets and significant debts, belongs to both spouses. When you decide to get divorced, the courts will do their best to find a way to split the assets and debts from your marriage equitably between you and your spouse.
Equitable should be fair, but it isn’t always perfectly even. An equitable distribution of your possessions and debts will usually mean disparities based on the financial situation and earning potential of each spouse, as well as parenting responsibilities and other concerns. Everything from child custody to the amount of assets you had prior to marriage can factor into the court’s final decision.
Both you and your spouse will receive a portion of the possessions you’ve acquired, from your retirement fund to the equity in the home. Similarly, you can both expect to become responsible for a reasonable portion of the debts accumulated during your marriage. The name on the account will matter less to the courts than when you acquired the asset or debt.
The court divides your assets based on information you provide
When you’re headed toward a divorce, it is important that you do everything in your power to secure copies of all pertinent financial information. Records from your bank, as well as income tax documents spanning your marriage, can help you ensure that the inventory of assets and debts from your marriage is as accurate and thorough as possible.
While there are certain assets you may not have any interest in, such as a spouse’s collectibles or personal vehicle, you should still ensure that you list those assets if you obtained them during marriage. The courts may not award them to you, but listing their value could help ensure that you receive items of comparable value.