Let’s start with defining what is not marital property, also known as non-marital property. Non-marital property refers to the following:
- Property acquired prior to marriage or property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.
- Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties entered into before, during or after the marriage.
- Property acquired by gift, except between spouses, bequest, devise or descent or property acquired in exchange for such property.
- Property acquired after final separation until the date of divorce, except for property acquired in exchange for marital assets.
- Property which a party has sold, granted, conveyed or otherwise disposed of in good faith and for value prior to the date of final separation.
- Veterans’ benefits exempt from attachment, levy or seizure pursuant to the act of September 2, 1958 (Public Law 85-857, 72 Stat. 1229), as amended, except for those benefits received by a veteran where the veteran has waived a portion of his military retirement pay in order to receive veterans’ compensation.
- Property to the extent to which the property has been mortgaged or otherwise encumbered in good faith for value prior to the date of final separation.
- Any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for any cause of action or claim which accrued prior to the marriage or after the date of final separation regardless of when the payment was received.
The presumption is that all real or personal property acquired by either party during the marriage is presumed to be marital property regardless of whether title is held individually or by the parties in some form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common or tenancy by the entireties.
Since Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state there are some items that are considered separate property, and thus will not have to be divided equitably. Assets that are considered separate property are as follows:
- Anything that either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement specifies
- Property that a spouse had prior to the marriage
- Items given as a gift and/or an inheritance
There are several online resources to help you along this process. Keep in mind that you do have the choice of trying to work through these matters with your spouse prior to the divorce. As with most matters during a divorce, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, then a judge will do it for you.
Let us help you prepare. Divorce does not have to lead to financial ruin. In many cases, you can rely on our lawyers’ knowledge and reputation to secure the resolution of your divorce-related issues by agreement with your spouse.
We are litigators, but we can also facilitate agreement between you and your spouse. Our lawyers have the experience to advise you on which course will resolve your divorce in the best manner possible, and always in accord with the outcomes that are most important to you.
The law firm of Wilder, Mahood, McKinley & Oglesby can provide the guidance and representation you need. Contact our seasoned lawyers online or call our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 412-261-4040.