Divorce is frequently a messy process because people’s emotions get the better of them. They become so upset about the perceived failings of their spouse or their disappointment at the end of the relationship that they act in a way that does more harm than good.
Frequently, couples may fight bitterly over specific matters, like who gets to keep the marital house or which vehicle each spouse receives in the divorce. Some spouses eventually settle their property division disagreements, but many others have to go to court because they can’t work together.
If you and your spouse can’t figure out a way to settle your property division matters on your own, what will a judge do with your belongings in a litigated divorce?
Judges must interpret state law based on your circumstances
You and your spouse both have to provide a thorough accounting of your resources and your income to the courts and to one another. The judge presiding over your divorce will look at those documents and consider any testimony that the two of you provided as they start contemplating the division of your property.
The Pennsylvania law about property division requires the equitable distribution of your marital assets. Equitable distribution means fair, not necessarily even. A judge could order you to sell assets and share the sale proceeds, or they might order you to split certain resources. They can order the division of retirement accounts and other financial resources. They can also divide your debt in a similar fashion.
Any property that belongs to both of you is potentially subject to division in your divorce proceedings.
You don’t need to rely on a judge to divide your property
You do have the option of making your own property division decisions in your upcoming divorce. If you and your spouse don’t like the idea of giving full control over your financial future to someone else, you may be able to decide between the two of you who will keep the home, how you will divide your retirement savings and all of your other major property division concerns.
Understanding what happens during the standard Pennsylvania divorce can help those preparing to file or respond to their spouse’s paperwork.