How are Debts and Assets Divided in a Divorce?

In Pennsylvania, the process of distributing property and debts between the spouses is called equitable distribution.  As the court seeks to divide these “fairly” between the spouses, it need not be an equal distribution.

The court will take many factors into consideration when determining equitable distribution.  The following factors that are relevant for the court to consider include those set forth in the Pennsylvania law, 23 Pa. C.S. § 3502 (a);

  • The length of the marriage.
  • Any prior marriage of either party.
  • The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  • The opportunity of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
  • The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  • The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as a homemaker.
  • The value of the property set apart to each party.
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
  • The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective.
  • The Federal, State, and local tax ramifications associated with each asset to be divided, distributed or assigned, which ramifications need not to be immediate and certain.
  • The expense of sale, transfer or liquidation associated with a particular asset, which expense need not be immediate and certain.
  • Whether the party will be serving as the custodian of any dependent minor children.