Pennsylvania couples who choose to end their marriage often are able to resolve issues involving such matters as property division and spousal support on their own. However, when they are unable to agree, the court will make these determinations. Pennsylvania statutes set forth a variety of factors that the court will consider when making a property division order.As is the case in most other states, Pennsylvania follows the principles of equitable distribution, and thus the resulting division is not necessarily equal.
Some of the factors include the age of each of the parties, how long the marriage lasted and the amount and sources of income available to each. Additional factors include the contribution that one of the spouses may have made to the education or career of the other, as well as the role that one of the spouses played as a homemaker. Some of these factors are also taken into account in determining whether one party will be entitled to receive spousal support.
The prior and expected future standard of living of each party, as well as the availability of retirement and health care benefits, are items set forth in the relevant statute as guidelines for the court to take into account. If there are any children from the marriage, the amount and nature of support that the custodial parent will need is also considered.
It is often better for a divorcing couple to attempt to resolve these issues amicably rather than relying upon a court to make the decision for them. An attorney who has experience in divorce and family law matters can be of assistance in negotiating such a comprehensive agreement on behalf of one of the parties.
Source: Divorce Support, "Pennsylvania Property Division Factors", September 22, 2014