Property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for said property is not marital however the increase in value of that property during the marriage is up for distribution. Pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. §3501(a)(1), any increase in value for non-marital or separate property should be measured from the date of marriage or date of acquisition through the date of separation or date close to the equitable distribution hearing, whichever date results in a lesser increase. This provision is intended to protect the party with the interest in the non-marital property in situations where there may be a lengthy time period between when the parties separate and when they get to the point of dividing the property.

Section 3501(a)(1) also discusses the potential for offsets in any increase in non-marital property by a decrease in non-marital property. Accordingly, if Wife had an increase in non-marital property as well as a decrease in non-marital property of the same amount, the two occurrences would cancel each other out. However, if the increase is greater than the decrease, the increase would be reduced by the extent of the decrease for a net value. This rule applies to the non-marital property of each spouse. In other words, Wife’s increased value in non-marital property can only be offset by her decreased value in non-marital property, not Husband’s, and vice versa.

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