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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.