Divorce is a difficult situation in many aspects and one issue that is often in dispute is property division. Philadelphia couples who are ending their marriage should understand what constitutes marital property and how that property will be divided. This issue is significant and should not be taken for granted.
Anything that either spouse acquired while they were married is considered marital property. This is true independent of whose name it is in. This can include a house, stocks, bonds, a pension, cars, bank accounts and anything else. Also included in marital property are items that have increased in value while the couple was married. This holds true for property that was owned by a spouse before the marriage and any asset that a spouse inherited or received as a gift while they were married.
Fairness is a major factor in property division. This does not mean that it will be automatically split in half between the spouses. There are multiple issues that are considered in the context of fairness.
They include the following: how long the couple was married; if either couple was married previously; the age, health and circumstances of the parties; whether one party contributed to the education, training and improved earning power of the other; if there is an opportunity to garner assets and income in the future; what the income sources are for the spouses; how much each party contributed to acquiring, preserving, depreciating or appreciating marital property; the value of property that is set apart to the parties; the standard of living during the marriage; the economic circumstances of both; and whether there are minor children of whom one parent will be the custodian.
An important point to remember is that behavior that is considered "fault" like adultery will not be factored in when a court is determining what is fair. Property division is one of the most prominent divorce legal issues that comes up. When getting a divorce, it is imperative to understand the various aspects that go into its determination. Having help from a divorce lawyer is beneficial when navigating these and other divorce-related issues.
Source: courts.phila.gov, "Divorce In Philadelphia County," accessed on April 3, 2017