Once you have identified your marital property, the next step is reaching an equitable distribution. Equitable distribution in Pennsylvania is not an automatic 50/50 split. Instead, there are thirteen (13) factors to be considered by the court in determining the appropriate division of a marital property. A few of the factors include the length of the marriage, sources of income and needs of each of the parties, value of property set apart to each party, standard of living established during the marriage, economic circumstances of each party as time division of property is to become effective, and whether either party will be serving as custodian for dependent minor children.
In a divorce involving equitable distribution, the parties are tasked with identifying all the property to be considered. Each party is to file an inventory of assets. The Inventory should list all marital assets and debts at issue, its value or balance, anything that has been transferred, and anything a party asserts is non-marital in nature. An Inventory must be filed prior to requesting a hearing on equitable distribution. You can supplement the list of marital property if you do not have knowledge of all the assets and debts at the outset. A pre-hearing statement must also be filed if a party is seeking a hearing to address equitable distribution. Similar to the Inventory, you will list all marital assets and debts. You will include as exhibits the statements or documents for each item confirming their value or balance. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney when dealing with equitable distribution matters to ensure all marital property is identified, valued and submitted to the court in a timely fashion. By April M. Townsend