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Equitable Distribution of Assets West Chester, PA

Wesley W. Legg Equitable Distribution Attorney West Chester, PA

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses the process of "equitable distribution" to distribute the marital property, including debts, during a divorce. Generally, all assets and liabilities (debt) acquired during the marriage, no matter whose name they are in, make up the marital estate. There are some exceptions to this general rule.

An important note: equitable distribution does not necessarily mean "equal" distribution. Rather, equitable means a distribution that is fair in light of the circumstances. The court first determines which property makes up the marital estate, and then applies a statutory set of factors to determine what an equitable distribution of the assets and debts would be. The court will give a written report to the parties of its findings.

Pennsylvania Equitable Distribution Factors

The equitable distribution factors are listed in Pennsylvania Statutes Title 23, Section 3502.  They include:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • Any prior marriage of either spouse.
  • The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each spouse.
  • The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other. For example, if Spouse A worked to send Spouse B to medical school and Spouse B's earning potential greatly increased, that may be considered in Spouse A's favor.
  • The opportunity of each spouse for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
  • The sources of income of both spouses, including retirement, insurance, pension and other benefits.
  • The contribution or dissipation of each spouse in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of marital property. This includes contributions of a homemaker.
  • The value of the separate (non-marital) property.
  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division is to be effective, including:
    • Tax ramifications, and
    • The expenses accrued selling, transferring or liquidating any particular asset.
  • Whether either party will serve as a custodian of any minor children after the marriage.

Pennsylvania is not a community property state. In a community property state, such as California, the spouses are joint owners of all marital property and the court's job is often to find a way to split everything 50/50. Pennsylvania, like most states, is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution is not equal distribution; the court must determine what split is equitable. This could be 60/40, or 55/45, or another division, depending on the circumstances.

If you are considering divorce in Pennsylvania and want to learn more about equitable distribution, contact the Law Office of Wesley W. Legg, Esquire LLC today at (484) 401-7079 or via our online contact form to set up a consultation. Wesley W. Legg represents clients living in Chester County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County.

Attorneys:  Wesley W. Legg

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Wesley Legg is a native of Chester County. He attended Bishop Shanahan High School and graduated in 2002. He went on to attend West Chester University, later transferring to Penn State University from… Read More

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