When people decide to
divorce, they’re usually concerned about what will happen to their assets.
They want to know the fate of their bank accounts, retirement accounts,
real estate, investments, and sometimes family-owned businesses.
Most clients have a general idea that divorce will touch on all of these
things but they don’t know to what extent. Will everything be divided
down the middle? Will they have to file
bankruptcy? Are they facing financial ruin?
If you hire a good attorney, divorce does not in any way have to mean financial
ruin. With the right legal support, you can protect the bulk of your assets
but in order to do this, it’s important to understand how the courts
divide marital property according to the laws of “equitable distribution.”
Pennsylvania is an Equitable Distribution State
In the United States, there are equitable distribution states and there
are community property states. Like the majority of states, Pennsylvania
is an equitable distribution state, which means a couple’s
marital assets are divided according to what’s fair. Unlike community property
states, such as California and Nevada, it does not mean 50/50.
In a divorce, only marital property is divided. Separate property remains
with the spouse who owns it. Separate property is basically property acquired
by a spouse before the marriage, but it also includes gifts and inheritances
received by one spouse during the marriage. Marital property refers to
assets and property acquired by either spouse during the course of the
marriage and it is subject to division in a divorce.
If there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it will make property
division much easier. Instead of wondering what will happen to the couple’s
house in a divorce, the prenup or postnup will dictate the fate of the
house. But if you don’t have a prenup and it’s too late for
one, you have two options: 1) reach an agreement with your spouse about
property division, or 2) let the court decide how to divide your marital property.
Protect Your Assets with a No-Fault Divorce
If the idea of leaving the fate of your assets up to a judge who doesn’t
know you and your spouse makes you uneasy, you can opt instead for a no-fault
divorce. In this case, you and your spouse would negotiate until you reach
an agreement you can both live with. Does that sound better than dragging
a judge into it? If so,
contact Cairns Law Offices to learn about our
$219 no-fault divorces.
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