People acquire property at various points in their lives, keeping some assets for years while disposing others. Sometimes they will acquire assets or start a retirement account when they are younger before they are married. Other times they will acquire property as they grow older, some of it being acquired while they are married.
For the most part it does not matter when people acquired the property. As long as they own it they typically will be able to use it. However, if people ever go through a divorce when they acquired the property does matter. During a divorce couples must divide their marital property.
For the most part marital property is property that the parties acquired during the marriage. Property that was acquired before the marriage and certain property acquired during the marriage, such as gifts and inheritances, are considered separate property and will remain with the spouse who owns it.
Factors used to determine equitable division of assets
When couples divide their property, they do so equitably. This may mean equally, but it does not need to be an equal division of assets. To determine an equitable division, there are a number of factors that courts analyze. These include, but are not limited to:
- Income and financial circumstances of each party
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and health of the spouses
- Ability of each spouse to support themselves
- Tax consequences for each spouse for the division of property
- Other relevant factors
Couples in Pennsylvania own various amounts and types of property. They may own homes, vehicles, checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, collectables, businesses and other assets. The marital assets must be divided equitably in the divorce. This can be a complicated process though as simply determining the value of the assets can be difficult at times. Experienced attorneys understand how property is divided and may be able to guide one through the process.