Going through a divorce can be a challenging time, especially when it comes to dividing property. Misconceptions can make this process even more confusing.
Understanding the rules that govern property division is key to navigating this critical aspect of your divorce. Separating fact from fiction can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty surrounding property division.
Misconception #1: Equitable division means equal division
One common misconception is that equitable division means an equal 50/50 split of the marital property. In reality, Pennsylvania follows the equitable distribution model, which means fair but not necessarily equal. The court considers a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the income and needs of each spouse and the standard of living during the marriage.
Misconception #2: Only marital property gets divided
Many people believe that only marital property, assets acquired during the marriage, gets divided in a divorce. This is not entirely accurate. In some cases, separate property, or assets one spouse had before the marriage, can also come into play. For instance, if separate property increases in value during the marriage, the courts may choose to divide that increase.
Misconception #3: All debt goes to the person who incurred it
Another misconception is that the person who incurred the debt is solely responsible for it. However, in a Pennsylvania divorce, debt division follows the same principles as asset division. If a spouse incurred debt for the benefit of the family, the court might view it as marital debt and divide it equitably.
Misconception #4: The house always goes to the parent with custody
Many believe that the parent with custody of the children will automatically get the house. This is not always true. While the court considers the children’s welfare in property division, it does not guarantee that the custodial parent gets the house. The court takes into account several factors, including the financial stability of each spouse.
As you go through your Pennsylvania divorce, it is important to understand the realities of property division. Do not let these misconceptions steer you off course. Your future financial stability may depend on it.