For couples who are considering a divorce in Pennsylvania, it is important to understand the issues surrounding the division of marital property. Community property states, such as Arizona, California and Texas, have different rules for dividing property than Pennsylvania. Therefore, it is especially important for couples who have moved from those states to understand the impact of various financial decisions on the ultimate division of marital assets.
Of all the family law issues surrounding a divorce, division of property is probably the most misunderstood apart from child custody and support. Questions of alimony, whether property is considered a marital asset or an individual asset, and issues surrounding retirement accounts are just a few of the complex legal questions facing a divorcing couple.
It is particularly important for those who are divorcing to understand state law regarding the division of certain types of assets that are often the subject of debate. For example, retirement account distribution can become an especially heated topic when couples who are divorcing are older. While inherited property is usually held to be separate from marital property, there are cases in which one spouse will try to leverage a claim against property that has been in use by the couple for many years, such as a family home. Pennsylvania tends to honor prenuptial agreements, so having such an agreement can help individuals protect assets such as family-owned businesses or priceless heirlooms.
The intricacies of family legal issues can create serious problems for those who are facing divorce. An attorney with experience in these matters can often help individuals understand their rights and act to protect their property when their marriage is ending.