If you and your spouse contemplate divorce, Pennsylvania law requires you to equitably divide your marital property between you. But an equitable division does not necessarily mean a precisely equal division. In fact, FindLaw explains that an equitable property settlement agreement is simply one that is fair to both of you.
Equitability requires you to look at your own situation and determine whether one of you should receive more marital property than the other based on such things as the following:
- What are your present respective ages?
- How much earning capacity does each of you have?
- Does one of you have a medical condition that prevents you from working or limits the amount of work you can do?
- Does one of you have child support obligations to a previous spouse?
- Does one of you gamble or otherwise recklessly deplete marital assets?
- How much separate property does each of you have?
Separate property exclusion
You and your spouse never need to divide the separate property that each of you owns. This property belongs to each of you respectively and represents such things as the following:
- The assets you owned before you got married
- The assets you received as personal gifts while married
- The assets you inherited while married
Assuming you and your spouse arrive at an agreed-upon property settlement agreement, you will need to file it with the court. The judge will then review and approve it if (s)he finds it to be fair and equitable given all your circumstances.
If the two of you cannot agree on which marital property each of you should receive, you may need to litigate the issue and let the judge decide. Be prepared to present clear and convincing evidence of why you should receive the marital property items you seek.