Bucks County Equitable Distribution & Property Division
It is rare for a Bucks County divorce to not include a component of property division or what is formally called “equitable distribution”. Because Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, Bucks County courts divide marital assets and debts based upon principles of equity, or “fairness”. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 division, but what is most equitable. From homes to cars to household furnishings, equitable distribution can become very complicated. Many factors are taken into account in dividing the marital estate. It is important to understand and utilize accepted valuation techniques in assessing the value and tax ramifications of each marital asset so that the marital property may be divided in a manner advantageous to the client. One key point to make: The Bucks County Family Court does not consider marital fault during property division.
From simple to complex, amicable to contentious, our Bucks County divorce attorneys have effectively handled all types of divorce matters. We understand that dissolving a marriage impacts the entire family. Our role is to manage the divorce process efficiently so as to minimize emotional impact. We will advocate and negotiate for you and protect your interest in the marital estate both during and after the divorce matter concludes. As a Bucks County client, you have the benefit of our experience in sophisticated asset valuation, which is vital to equitable distribution.
Joint debts are also a factor in finalizing a divorce in Bucks County. These may include credit card debt, mortgages, student loans, and auto loans. It is important to factor in the responsibility of the debt when dividing assets.
Equitable distribution is based on several factors, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Age, health and income of each party
- Child custody arrangements
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Significant non-marital assets
- Economic disparity/incomes of the parties
Nonmarital or separate property includes property a person brings into the marriage and inheritances or gifts received outside of the marriage. Marital assets are property and finances which are acquired during the marriage such as:
- Personal property (such as vehicles, art and furniture)
- Real estate (primary residence and other property)
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Stock options and portfolios
- Interests in a business or partnership
Additional Issues with Property Division
Please note: Even if a person brings an asset into the marriage, if the asset increases in value (i.e. stock price increases) then the accretion of value is a marital asset.
In a Bucks County divorce, it is important for the represented spouse to fight for their appropriate share of the assets and to not be coerced into accepting less than they are entitled to.
If spouses are unable to agree about the division of their marital assets and marital debts, the spouses may elect to engage in the formal court in Bucks County process for equitable distribution. The decision of whether to negotiate a settlement without or not to go through the court process and possibly a trial often involves a cost-benefit analysis.