When I divorce my husband, will I get half of everything or just half of what we got while married?

Asked on January 15, 2013 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Courts use a fair and equitable standard for dividing property.  For most people, this means fifty-fifty-- but the courts are not required to divide property "down the middle."  The court can make an uneven distribution of property if they have a reason for doing so.  For example, if the marital estate has a great deal of debt, the court can require one spouse to pay most of the debt, but also give them a greater share of the marital estate to pay it with.

The other emphasis here is "marital estate."  Some people refer to this as community property.  This is property or assets which are acquired during the marriage.  The court only has authority to divide the marital estate.  If a spouse had separate property coming into the marriage, like a house or boat, then they will be able to keep the property after the marriage, unless they specifically gifted part of the interest to the other spouse during the marriage.  Sometimes the lines between marital property and separate property get cloudy when both have helped contribute to payments or maintenance of the property.  Even if a spouse is not entitled to a division of the separate property, they may be entitled for reimbursement for improvements or care they provided to it.  (like putting a new roof on the house).  If you are not sure about the character of a specific asset, then visit with a family law attorney. 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of most states in this country the separate property of you and your soon to be former spouse will remain as such. As to items acquired during the marriage incuding debt, such are usually divided equally by the court since such are deemed marital assets.

From what you have written about, I suggest that you consult with a family law attorney for assistance and guidance as to the subject of your inquiry.


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