If you are on the brink of divorce in Pennsylvania, you may be wondering, “What counts as marital property? What property is subject to division?” Under the Divorce Code, all property acquired during the course of the marriage, with a few exceptions, such as property owned before the marriage, is marital property, regardless of who earned the money or whose name is on the title.
Generally, separate property is not subject to division in a divorce. Separate property includes property owned before the marriage, gifts received before or during the marriage, and inheritances received before or during the marriage in one spouse’s name alone. However, keep in mind that any “increase in value” during the marriage of separate property will be considered as marital property.
For example, suppose “John” owned a home before marrying “Elizabeth,” which he decided to rent out just before the marriage. When the couple got married, John’s house was worth $100,000, but when John and Elizabeth filed for divorce, his home was worth $150,000. So, the $50,000 increase in value is considered marital and therefore subject to division in the divorce. Same goes for inherited property during the marriage, and other premarital property that remained in one of the spouse’s names throughout the marriage.
What About Our Bank Accounts?
What if you both kept separate bank accounts during the marriage, does that mean they remain separate for divorce purposes? Sorry, but if the bank accounts were opened during the marriage, the funds belong to both spouses. For example, if you withdraw all the funds from your bank account, you may have to account to your spouse for the money, even if the bank account is in your name alone.
If you and your spouse do not negotiate your own divorce settlement, the court can consider all bank accounts as marital property and divide the funds in an equitable fashion, regardless of which spouse the bank account belongs to.
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