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Is PA state a community property state, how is separate and marital property divided upon divorce in PA

Lancaster, PA |

Is Pa a common property state? If not, what is the procedure in PA

Attorney Answers 4

  1. No, Pennsylvania is not a community property state. Property held jointly by a husband and wife is usually held as tenants by the entireties, meaning it is owned by both as though by one person. However, divorce converts this into a tenancy in common, with each owning one half. If the parties can agree on property division during divorce, all the better. But if they cannot, the court will decide. Separate property, such property owned before marriage or inherited, is retained in full. However a spouse can acquire an equitable interest in property that a court will recognize. For example, if a house was owned by the husband but the wife made the mortgage payments or replaced the roof with her own money, she will be regarded as having an equitable interest in the property.


  2. Pa is not a common property state. The procedure in Pa rather easy to understand. Typically, the parties exchange information regarding the value of their assets and documentation of debt. Depending on the income and assets of the parties, negotiations then begin regarding the division of the property and debts. Courts in Pa look at economic justice. What is fair. In the event the parties can not resolve the issue, a claim for equitable distribution must be filed and a Divorce Master will be appointed. This begins to become rather costly. If the parties are approaching the negotiations with practical expectations, a claim for equitable distribution can usually be avoided. It is never wise to settle simply to avoid equitable distribution. If you feel that you are being taken advantage of and the division does not appear to be fair, do not be fearful of filing the claim.

  3. Pennsylvania is NOT a community property state. Pennsylvania, like the majority of states, is a "marital property" state and utilizes an "equitable distribution" procedure for dividing marital property. In general, all property acquired from the date of marriage to date of separation is "marital property," regardless of whether it is titled in the husband's name, wife's name or joint names. The major exceptions are property acquired by gift or inheritance, premarital property, and property excluded by prenuptial agreement. Keep in mind that the increase in value of premarital property, gifts and inheritance is part of the marital estate to be divided upon divorce.

    Marital property is divided by settlement or court order. If a settlement cannot be reached, the court is authorized to consider 11 subjective factors listed at section 3502 of the Divorce Code. Those factors do NOT include marital fault. Also, there is no presumption of a 50/50 division of property. It is not uncommon to have a 55/45, 60/40, or even 80/20 division of property.

  4. No. PA is NOT a community property state. Assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be marital property and are subject to equitable distribution by the court when people divorce, unless the people themselves agree as to how this is to be done. It makes no difference how these assetsare titled - in the husband's name, in the wife's name, in both names, or in someon else's name. If acquired during the marriage by either party or with the assets of either party, unless fitting into one of the exceptions, it is MARITAL propertyThere are a couple of exceptions: inheritance to one spouse, a gift from a third party to one spouse, and even these can lose their character as separate property if not kept property. Separate property is not subject to division, because it is separate property. Marital property is subject to division.

    If kept strictly separate, property owned prior to the marriege by either party is also that party's separate property.