Divorce is a challenging process with many common misconceptions, especially regarding asset division. Most people believe they know what asset division means for their divorce proceeding. Usually, they are wrong. Below are three common myths about asset division in Pennsylvania.
Myth #1: Separate bank accounts means separate property
In Pennsylvania, the court relies on the equitable division process to determine each spouse’s share of assets. Since the state divides property fairly, not equally, the court has to classify assets as either shared or separate property.
Separate property means the assets are not eligible for asset division during the divorce.
Most spouses believe if they have separate bank accounts, the money isn’t eligible for equitable division because it’s “separate property.” This is untrue. Wealth acquired during a marriage is marital property, despite the name on the account. The only time it’s protected is if the money was earned before the wedding.
Myth #2: Asset division does not include inheritance
Most people assume that asset division does not include inheritance money. This is usually true. However, if you put the funds in a joint account with your significant other, the money becomes marital property and thus eligible for division.
It’s critical to keep any inheritance funds or personal gifts in your name alone.
Myth #3: You will lose half of everything you own
While it is realistic to expect some losses during the division process, you don’t have to give up on every belonging you’ve ever had.
That’s not how courts work.
As stated, Pennsylvania courts want to divide property fairly, not necessarily equally. The judge analyzes multiple factors including but not limited to: individual wealth, length of the marriage, and the role of each spouse and earning disparity between spouses. The purpose of this process is to make distribution as fair as possible to all parties involved.
At Martson Law Offices, we have the experience to guide you through your divorce and find a strategy to keep the assets that are most important to you.