Equitable Distribution Attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
No matter your age or your financial situation, dividing your assets can be one of the most emotionally and financially challenging aspects of divorce. Equitable distribution (which doesn’t necessarily mean equal distribution) is a legal principle that seeks to divide assets fairly between spouses during divorce. Unlike an equal distribution, where everything is split 50/50, equitable distribution allows the court to distribute more than 50% of a marital estate to a single spouse under a variety of circumstances.
Learning how properties, savings, investment portfolios, and debts will be divided according to Pennsylvania state law can help ease some of the stress and tension many of our clients feel during their divorce. If you’re going through the divorce process in Pittsburgh or anywhere in Pennsylvania, contact our team for a one-on-one consultation.
What Property is Subject to Equitable Distribution?
Many of our clients are thrilled to discover some of their most cherished assets may be protected from equitable distribution. It all depends on whether your assets are marital or separate property according to Pennsylvania law.
Marital Property vs Separate Property in Pennsylvania
Let’s dive deeper into the categories of marital and separate property.
Generally speaking, marital property encompasses the entirety of your shared estate with your spouse, including income, investment and retirement assets, properties, and debts. If you acquired the property during your marriage (with a few key exceptions detailed below) it is more than likely a marital asset that is eligible for equitable distribution.
A few common examples of marital property include:
Houses and Vacation Homes
Income and Retirement Accounts
Stocks, Bonds, Options, and RSUs
Vehicles, including Boats, Planes, etc.
Art, Antiques, and Jewelry
Separate property is typically—but not always—exempt from equitable distribution in Pennsylvania. Common examples of separate property include:
Inheritances and gifts received before, during, or after the marriage from an individual besides your spouse
Property acquired before the marriage or protected by an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
Certain military veteran benefits
Any property or assets acquired after separating from your spouse
The Equitable Distribution Process
There are a variety of factors that will be considered during the equitable distribution process. Since dividing assets isn’t as cut-and-dry as states with equal (50/50) distribution, your attorney will be a key resource to help you navigate equitable distribution. Your attorney and the judge presiding over your case will have to consider factors like:
The length of your marriage
The reason for the divorce (adultery may tip the scales)
The standard of living each spouse is accustomed to
The contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of marital property
The current and future earning capacities of each spouse
Incomes, age, and health of each spouse
The amount of separate property owned by each spouse
Each of these factors can be weighed at the discretion of the presiding judge, which means no two equitable distribution cases look exactly alike. To get the most accurate idea of what an equitable distribution of your assets would look like, reach out to an experienced family law and divorce attorney.
Equitable Distribution Attorneys Serving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
There’s no need to go through this emotional time alone. If you’re considering divorce in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Washington, Waynesburg, Uniontown, or New Castle and are feeling overwhelmed about the division of your assets, give us a call or reach out online today. We have the experience, dedication, and track record of success you need to regain peace of mind and proceed with your divorce with confidence.