Montgomery County Marital Property Division Attorney
Pennsylvania is an equitable division state, and “equitable” is not necessarily the same thing as “equal.” That’s especially true if the marriage dissolution would be an unfair financial burden on either party unless the court makes some extraordinary provisions. These provisions often require more than a calendar and a calculator to determine. A number of factors, such as standard of living during the marriage and the future income potential of each spouse, must be considered.
The diligent Montgomery County marital property division attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand thoroughly examine all applicable facts, as well as all applicable laws. This approach helps us craft a cost-effective, long-lasting solution which protects your legal and financial rights, both now and in the future. Because of our diligence, we are usually able to resolve even rather thorny disputes out of court. These resolutions reduce costs and give the parties more control over the outcome.
The general classification rule is deceptively simple. Assets or debts acquired before the marriage or by gift are nonmarital property, and everything else is marital property.
Frequently, real life is much more complex. Assume Husband acquires the shell of a 1965 Mustang prior to the marriage. Wife, who is a mechanic, helps Husband restore the car. She does most of the work, and Husband’s parents buy most of the parts. Upon divorce, the fully-restored car could be Husband’s nonmarital property, marital property subject to equitable division, which probably means a sale or a setoff, or Wife’s nonmarital property.
Some property is rather easy to value. Cash in a 401(k) or other retirement account is a good example. Other property is not nearly as easy to value. A home is a good example.
Frequently, the home’s value per the local tax appraiser is only a starting point. If the house must be sold immediately, it has a lower value. If the house needs any work, from new carpet to a new foundation, the value goes even lower. If the market is depressed, well, you can probably guess what that means. In situations like these, attorneys often partner with real estate agents or other professionals to determine an appropriate value.
Therefore, selling property and equitably dividing the assets might not always be the best solution. Fortunately, some alternatives are available.
If a sale-and-division is inappropriate, a setoff is often a good idea. Let’s return to the 401(k) example. These assets often have substantial financial values. Their emotional value might be even higher. The portion of the account which accumulated during the marriage is marital property. To retain full control of this account, the owner spouse might agree to make higher alimony payments.
Emotional issues often outweigh financial issues. If the couple had minor children, it’s usually in their best interests for them to remain in the family home. As such, the residential parent might retain ownership of the home, and the nonresidential parent might obtain a lien for his/her share of the equity. Later, when the owner spouse sells the house, that lien, plus interest, must be paid.
Connect with a Hard-Working Attorney
Marital property divisions are often far from straightforward. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Montgomery County, contact Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Convenient payment plans are available.