West Chester Property Division Attorneys Help You Reach a Fair and Reasonable Agreement
Guiding couples through the challenges of divorce for more than 25 years
The process of settling a divorce involves many different obstacles that should be handled in a compassionate and expedient manner. Property division goes much further than just what’s yours and what’s your spouse’s. The Law Office of Marta S. Laynas has extensive experience helping couples negotiate and cooperate to create mutually beneficial asset distribution agreements. The attorneys are also skilled litigators who fight hard for their clients’ rights in court if necessary.
How is property divided in Pennsylvania?
The simplest and most cost-effective way to distribute property during a divorce is for the parties to negotiate and execute a marital settlement agreement out of court. In the event that a couple is unable to reach an agreement, the court steps in to determine an appropriate property settlement. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means that the court develops a fair settlement, but it does not mean that the property is to be divided 50/50 between the spouses.
One of the first steps in devising a property distribution agreement is determining what exactly constitutes the marital property. Under Pennsylvania law, marital property includes nearly anything acquired during the course of the marriage, such as houses, cars, furniture, bank accounts and debt. In most states, marital property does not include assets acquired before the marriage or inheritances or gifts received by one spouse during the marriage. However, Pennsylvania is different from other states in that marital property also includes any increases in value during the marriage of property acquired prior to the marriage and assets or property that was inherited by or gifted to one spouse.
Debt and retirement benefits are not necessarily immune from distribution
Debts acquired before a marriage are not considered marital property, but debts incurred during the marriage are distributed between the spouses. Marital portions of a defined benefit retirement plan are also included in the court’s determination of asset distribution. Certain veteran benefits are exempt from attachment or levy. An experienced Chester County family law attorney can explain how Pennsylvania law affects your separate and marital property after your divorce.
Factors that must be considered when distributing marital property
When the court devises an equitable distribution of assets agreement, the factors considered include:
- The length of the marriage
- Any prior marriages of each party
- The age, health, needs, skills, employability and sources of income of each party
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including any contribution to the education of the other spouse
- Future earning opportunities
- Tax ramifications of the property distribution
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Each party’s medical, retirement, insurance and other benefits
Each case is unique and presents its own challenges. The attorneys at this West Chester law firm provide the resources and information you need to fully understand your rights and protect your interests.
Rely on a respected Chester County property division law firm to fight for you
Property division is a significant part of the divorce process that is often contentious and time-consuming. The attorneys at The Law Office of Marta S. Laynas do whatever it takes to help you get what you deserve. The office is centrally located in the township of West Chester, and appointments are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 610.692.3460 or contact the firm online to discuss your case today.