If your marriage ends, you need to know how the court might divide your financial assets to protect your investments and keep yourself from financial turmoil. Here’s how the Pennsylvania court divides investments and other assets in a divorce.
Marital versus separate property
Before the court divides anything during your divorce, they will first determine which of your assets are marital and which are separate. Any stock that you bought or investments made before marriage are typically separate property. If a friend, your parent or any other person besides your spouse gifts you an investment holding, it qualifies as separate property.
On the other hand, any stock or investment made while married is marital property and subject to division. Also, if you bought stocks before marriage, the appreciation in value that occurs while married may constitute marital property, especially if your spouse contributes in any way to that growth. However, if it appreciates only through market forces, then it will likely remain your separate property.
In Pennsylvania, the court divides property equitably, not 50/50. The judge will consider many factors when deciding how to divide your property, like each spouse’s contribution to the accumulation of assets, lifestyle, ability to get a job, health, etc.
The court will then want to know the exact value of your assets. It may be helpful for you to also hire your own financial advisor and attorney when estimating the value of your investments. Some of your assets may have the potential of growing exponentially in the future, and you don’t want to miss out on that.
You can either choose to sell your investment assets and divide the proceeds, give your spouse another asset or stock in exchange for the one you value more, or provide them with a share of the investment. You have the right to make this decision, and it is important that you make one that will protect you financially for the rest of your life.
Dividing property is one of the most critical parts of a divorce. Make sure you get what you rightfully deserve by taking your time through the process.