If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you will soon have to face the property division phase of the divorce.
One major question arises in your mind: Is the inheritance you received during your marriage separate property or is it marital property?
About property division
In Pennsylvania, the court follows rules of equitable distribution in the division of assets during a divorce. The judge will take many factors into consideration, such as the length of the marriage, the age of the parties and their ability to support themselves after the divorce is final.
The focal point of property division is often the question of who gets the house. Sometimes the highlight is the division of the family business. Financial questions are also important: spousal support, dividing retirement accounts and responsibility for paying off debt or repaying loans.
Inheritances and gifts
Property division concerns both separate and marital assets. For example, perhaps you received money as an inheritance from your deceased uncle, and the inheritance is in your name alone. If you deposited the funds into a bank account in your own name and there are no other funds in that account, the court will likely consider the inheritance your separate property. However, if you commingled funds; that is, if you put any part of the inheritance into a joint account with your spouse, those are now marital funds, and your spouse will likely be entitled to division as marital property. With legal guidance, you can sort out questions of separate versus marital assets as you prepare for the divorce so that there will be no big surprises during property division.