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Pennsylvania Property Division Factors

In Pennsylvania, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Court of Common Pleas within the Decree of Divorce.

Pennsylvania is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Court of Common Pleas will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Court of Common Pleas to be fair.

When making a property award, the court will consider the following: A.The duration of the marriage. B.Any prior marriage of either party C.The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties. D.The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party. E.The opportunity of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income. F.The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits. G.The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property H.The value of the property set apart to each party. I.The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage. J.The economic circumstances of each party, including Federal, State and local tax ramifications, at the time the division of property is to become effective. K.Whether the party will be serving as the custodian of any dependent minor children. (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 3501, 3502, 3505)

Since Pennsylvania is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about Pennsylvania property division in the Pennsylvania state statutes located at: http://members.aol.com/StatutesPA/23.html.