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Property division in a Pennsylvania divorce

When a Pennsylvania couple decides to part ways and move forward with a divorce, there are many aspects that will have to be settled. Often, the dispute will center around property division and which spouse will receive what. While children and emotions can cause problems as a marriage concludes, divorce legal issues that can take a long time to negotiate are property, household goods and bank accounts. This is true whether it is a high asset divorce or one of more modest means. Regardless, those who are in the middle of this type of situation have the have a grasp of what they are dealing with.

Any property that the spouses acquired while they were married is considered marital property. Excluded are properties that were inherited by one of the spouses and gifts. If the value of gifts that were acquired from a third party increases, the proceeds will be considered marital property. That includes gifts and inheritances. If there is no agreement between the parties before going to court, the court will divide these properties in an equitable manner.

Household goods can include furniture, appliances and other items around the house are not considered personal effects and will not be in the name of one spouse or the other. If a spouse cannot prove that the item was acquired before the marriage or was a gift from a third party and belonged to one of the spouses, it will be viewed as marital property. These items will be split based on that.

With bank accounts, it does not matter whose name is on the account if the amount in the accounts was accrued during the marriage. Both will be entitled to a share of the funds. There are situations in which one spouse might drain the bank account before the divorce proceeding. That does not assuage the responsibility on the part of the spouse to share the proceeds if they are part of the marriage. Property division can be complicated and cause issues that can be long lasting and difficult. When a couple is planning a divorce, having help from an experienced legal professional is important to understand and deal with these issues.

Source: pabar.org, "Divorce & Separation," accessed on Jan. 3, 2016

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