When you and your spouse file for divorce, you either negotiate a property settlement or a judge divides your asset for you. Having a realistic idea about what you might receive if a judge splits your assets could help you push for better terms during negotiations outside of court.
Dividing your property will require attention to detail and also a careful review of what you have earned or bought during your marriage. Your assets and even your debts will all play a role in how you divide your marital property. Can you expect to receive 50% of all of your shared or marital assets in the divorce?
An even split is not always the preferred outcome
When people talk about a 50-50 split of their marital property, what they reference is the community property model of property division. Pennsylvania has not used that approach in some time. Instead, the courts employ the equitable distribution model.
Rather than focusing on an even split of all of your shared assets and debts, the goal is fairness or equity based on the circumstances of your marriage. Your contributions to the household, both paid and unpaid, your health and even your current earning potential can all influence what the courts view as fair for property division purposes.
Given how much nuance and consideration goes into dividing property in a Pennsylvania divorce, receiving a 50/50 split of every asset is unlikely. However, you can expect to share in all of the income and property acquired during your marriage even if it is an asset or account not specifically in your name.
How do you split property that you can’t actually share?
Some assets you can easily share with your ex. You can divide a bank account, for example. However, you can’t divide the sofa or the house where you live. You may need to determine the value of these assets in order to negotiate for who keeps what and to ensure that each spouse receives an appropriate or equitable amount of the marital estate’s value.