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Marital Property and Marital Settlement Agreements

Posted By Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney || 17-Sep-2012

Trying to figure out what you are going to put into your marital settlement agreement can seem overwhelming. One of the topics to make the process move along easier is understanding that the state of Pennsylvania is marital property state. Basically what this means is that property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses.

Some considerations for working out the distribution of your marital property in Pennsylvania include:

  1. How long did your marriage last?
  2. Needs of child(ren).
  3. The contribution of each spouse. This not only means financial, but can include other services such as being a homemaker.
  4. Health, age and income needs of each spouse.
  5. Future opportunity for income.
  6. Rights and obligations from a previous marriage.
  7. In the case of having a business, did a spouse offer professional advice or time spent helping with the business?

The state of Pennsylvania is considered a title-blind state. The name of the person on the title is not the relevant factor. This helps protect in different instances. For example, a wife purchases a car during the marriage, but her husband's name is on the title. The husband does not have automatic right to the car just because his name appears on the title.

Non-marital property is what is sometimes referred to as separate property. Some examples of separate property include:

  1. Property acquired before the marriage.
  2. Third party gifts, inheritance and bequests made to one spouse.
  3. Income generated by an asset prior to the marriage.
  4. Property excluded by prenuptial agreement.

Ask your uncontested divorce lawyer how he will support you through your marital settlement agreement process. Attorney James Cairns offers a free marital settlement agreement questionnaire to walk you through the agreement process. In addition, he is available by telephone or online for any further questions you may have.

Being able to work out your own marital settlement agreement with your spouse saves you time and money. In addition to saving yourself the hassle of actually having to go to court, you and your spouse are the ones deciding what you want to put in your marital settlement agreement instead of a judge telling you who will get marital property. When this happens, both spouses not only have given their power to make decisions to someone else, but also aren't normally as satisfied with the outcome of a third person making life decisions for them.