Protecting Your Assets During Divorce
A key part of making sure that your divorce is handled properly involves the division of your assets. Your assets include your personal property (car, furniture, jewelry), financial assets (such as your bank accounts) and any real estate you might own. In Pennsylvania, this division is called equitable distribution.
Determining who gets what and how much requires a lawyer who understands both your finances and your feelings about your possessions. Learn more about equitable distribution and how our marital property attorneys can protect you by contacting us at 717.520.4400.
How Property Division Works
To determine how to divide your assets and debts, a court looks to a number of factors. The purpose of those factors is to seek an equitable or fair division between the spouses. Those factors include:
- How long you were married
- Whether you have been married before
- Your ability to earn money now or in the future
- How you contributed to the earning power of the other spouse (did you help pay for the other spouse’s education or contribute in some other way)
- Expected future sources of assets (for example will you inherit a substantial amount of money from a parent.)
- How much did you contribute to the marital property (being a homemaker is considered a valuable contribution)
- What will your financial circumstances be at the time of the division (do you have your own assets that were not marital property that will impact your financial well being)
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Tax and other financial ramifications based on how the assets and debts are divided
- Who will serve as custodian for the children[/fancy_list]
These are just some of the factors a court or family mediator will look to in determining how best to separate your assets. Some factors may not apply to you. How the factors are weighed will vary as well. This is why it is critical to have experienced equitable distribution attorneys on your side.
Attorneys Miloszewski and Smith have substantial experience helping protect their clients’ finances. They work to maximize positive factors and minimize harmful ones, seeking to obtain the best result possible for you.
Common Issues in Asset Distribution
There are a number of issues your marital estate attorney must explore to help you fight for the best settlement possible.
Is it Marital Property?
A common argument during a divorce involves determining whether something is either marital property or marital debt. If one spouse claims that a certain source of money is not a marital asset, but commingled the funds, that source can become a marital asset and is now available for division during equitable distribution. In addition, if one spouse brings real estate into the marriage, but the other spouse spends money on the upkeep of that property, it is possible for what was once not marital property to become so. On the other hand, your lawyers must be able to protect your non-marital property so it is not included in the distribution.
Trying to Hide Assets
Another unfortunately frequent issue involves one spouse seeking to hide assets from another. Attorneys who are able to find hidden assets are crucial in such cases. Our lawyers use their own experience and knowledge as well as work with non-attorney experts such as forensic accountants to find hidden marital property.
Understanding Types of Assets
Some issues involving equitable distribution are simply complex and require attorneys who are able to identify and manage all matters that might come up. This includes knowledge and experience with:
- Determining the actual value of your property, whether it is marital, financial or even a business in which you or your spouse have ownership interest.
- Working with stocks, bonds, pensions, 401k plans, life insurance plans and other types of assets.
- Handling marital debt so it is properly identified and divided. [/fancy_list]
We Have the Experience and Knowledge To Help
We provide our clients with the full array of legal services needed to protect them during the equitable distribution process. We are also connected to a broad network of professionals and professional resources, which enables our clients to access specialized expertise and professional support to meet their needs beyond legal representation.
Contact Us Today
We can help you whether your divorce matter involves substantial assets and complex estates or you are unsure you require an attorney to finalize your divorce. We will assist in identifying and valuing the marital assets and liabilities to protect you and help you plan for your financial future after your divorce is finalized. Learn more about our team and find out how we can stand up for you during your divorce. Contact our equitable distribution attorneys today at 717.520.4400.