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The Pennsylvania Divorce Code together with a vast collection of caselaw essentially controls your rights with regard to marital property.
The "marital estate" typically refers to all assets and liabilities that were obtained by a married couple from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Which spouse holds legal title or deed to such an asset or which spouse is contracted to a particular debt is usually meaningless. However, as usual in the law, there are several exceptions to these general categorizations.
Marital assets commonly included in marital estates include pensions, retirement accounts, investments, and real estate along with personal property and cash.
Courts in Pennsylvania evaluate the division of marital estates based upon factors relating to "equitable distribution." In other words, assets and debt are not always simply split down the middle. The spouse left in a better overall position will often be entitled to less of the marital assets and more of the marital debt.
The Pennsylvania Divorce Code also provides for awards of "alimony" in certain cases. Alimony is typically in the form of scheduled cash payments from one spouse to the other. There are various factors that control the amounts and durations of alimony awards.
Negotiation is a major component of divorce litigation. Many parties successfully negotiate financial and other divorce issues without ever stepping into a courtroom. There are many benefits that come from successful negotiation - litigation costs are kept down, privacy is maintained, risk is reduced, and animosity is kept to a minimum.
Often making divorce situations more complicated is the involvement of situations relating to child custody, child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite (APL), protection from abuse (PFA), or criminal charges. Some divorce situations touch on all of the above legal fields and, in most situations, they effect each other directly and/or indirectly. Representation by a Pennsylvania divorce attorney with experience in all of these areas provides a significant advantage.
Some married couples have nothing they wish to fight over and simply want to obtain a divorce. In Pennsylvania, whether or not parties are litigating financial issues, there is a 90 day waiting period before a final divorce decree can be obtained in relation to a no-fault divorce claim; (fault-divorce claims, which require parties to prove in open court that their marriage justifies divorce, are obsolete).
Whether your divorce matter is simple or complex, we can help. We know the emotional and financial stress that our clients face in relation to family law problems. We see it every day.
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