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Pennsylvania

JURISDICTIONAL END OF MARRIAGE DATE: Date of Separation: If there is no Separation Date use current date.

STATE TYPE FOR PENSION EVALUATION: Pennsylvania is an "equitable distribution" state. Separate property that is: (1) acquired prior to the marriage; (2) acquired in exchange for any separate property; (3) any gifts and inheritances; and (4) any property designated as separate in a valid agreement between the spouses, will be retained by the spouse owning it. All other marital property will be divided equitably, without regard to any marital misconduct, based on the following factors: (1) the contribution or dissipation of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker; (2) the age and health of the spouses; (3) the vocational skills of the spouses; (4) the value of each spouse's property; (5) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective; (6) the length of the marriage; (7) the tax consequences to each spouse; (8) the occupation of the spouses; (9) the amount and sources of income of the spouses, including retirement and any other benefits; (10) the vocational skills of the spouses; (11) the employability of the spouses; (12) the liabilities and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income; (13) the standard of living established during the marriage; (14) whether a spouse will have custody of any minor children; (15) any contributions toward the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse; (16) any prior marital obligations; and (17) any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses. The court may require a spouse to purchase or maintain life insurance and name the other spouse as beneficiary. Both spouses will be required to submit an inventory and appraisal of their property.

[Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated; Title 23, Sections 3501, 3502, and 3505].


23 Pa. Cons. Stat. '3501

Definitions

(a) General rule. C As used in this chapter, "marital property" means all property acquired by either party during the marriage, including the increase in value, prior to the date of final separation, of any nonmarital property acquired pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3), except:

(1) Property acquired prior to marriage or property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.

(2) Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties entered into before, during or after the marriage.

(3) Property acquired by gift, except between spouses, bequest, devise or descent.

(4) Property acquired after final separation until the date of divorce, except for property acquired in exchange for marital assets.

(5) Property which a party has sold, granted, conveyed or otherwise disposed of in good faith and for value prior to the date of final separation.

(6) Veterans' benefits exempt from attachment, levy or seizure pursuant to the act of September 2, 1958 (Public Law 85-857, 72 Stat. 1229), as amended, except for those benefits received by a veteran where the veteran has waived a portion of his military retirement pay in order to receive veterans' compensation.

(7) Property to the extent to which the property has been mortgaged or otherwise encumbered in good faith for value prior to the date of final separation.

(8) Any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for any cause of action or claim which accrued prior to the marriage or after the date of final separation regardless of when the payment was received.

(b) Presumption. C All real or personal property acquired by either party during the marriage is presumed to be marital property regardless of whether title is held individually or by the parties in some form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common or tenancy by the entirety. The presumption of marital property is overcome by a showing that the property was acquired by a method listed in subsection (a).

23 PA. CONS. STAT. ' 3502

Equitable division of marital property

(a) General rule. C In an action for divorce or annulment, the court shall, upon request of either party, equitably divide, distribute or assign, in kind or otherwise, the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct in such proportions and in such manner as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors, including:

(1) The length of the marriage.

(2) Any prior marriage of either party.

(3) The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties.

(4) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.

(5) The opportunity of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.

(6) The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.

(7) The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker.

(8) The value of the property set apart to each party.

(9) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.

(10) The economic circumstances of each party, including Federal, State and local tax ramifications, at the time the division of property is to become effective.

(11) Whether the party will be serving as the custodian of any dependent minor children.

(b) Lien. C The court may impose a lien or charge upon property of a party as security for the payment of alimony or any other award for the other party.

(c) Family home. C The court may award, during the pendency of the action or otherwise, to one or both of the parties the right to reside in the marital residence.

(d) Life insurance. C The court may direct the continued maintenance and beneficiary designations of existing policies insuring the life or health of either party which were originally purchased during the marriage and owned by or within the effective control of either party. Where it is necessary to protect the interests of a party, the court may also direct the purchase of, and beneficiary designations on, a policy insuring the life or health of either party.

(e) Powers of the court. C If, at any time, a party has failed to comply with an order of equitable distribution, as provided for in this chapter or with the terms of an agreement as entered into between the parties, after hearing, the court may, in addition to any other remedy available under this part, in order to effect compliance with its order:

(1) enter judgment;

(2) authorize the taking and seizure of the goods and chattels and collection of the rents and profits of the real and personal, tangible and intangible property of the party;

(3) award interest on unpaid installments;

(4) order and direct the transfer or sale of any property required in order to comply with the court's order;

(5) require security to insure future payments in compliance with the court's order;

(6) issue attachment proceedings, directed to the sheriff or other proper officer of the county, directing that the person named as having failed to comply with the court order be brought before the court, at such time as the court may direct. If the court finds, after hearing, that the person willfully failed to comply with the court order, it may deem the person in civil contempt of court and, in its discretion, make an appropriate order, including, but not limited to, commitment of the person to the county jail for a period not to exceed six months;

(7) award counsel fees and costs;

(8) attach wages; or

(9) find the party in contempt.

23 PA. CONS. STAT. ' 3503

Effect of divorce on property rights generally

Whenever a decree or judgment is granted which nullifies or absolutely terminates the bonds of matrimony, all property rights which are dependent upon the marital relation, except those which are vested rights, are terminated unless the court expressly provides otherwise in its decree. All duties, rights and claims accruing to either of the parties at any time theretofore in pursuance of the marriage shall cease, and the parties shall severally be at liberty to marry again as if they had never been married.

23 PA. CONS. STAT. ' 3504

Disposition of property after termination of marriage

Unless provided otherwise by the court, whenever a decree of divorce or annulment is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction, both parties whose marriage is terminated or affected shall have complete freedom of disposition as to their separate real and personal property and may mortgage, sell, grant, convey or otherwise encumber or dispose of their separate property, whether the property was acquired before, during or after coverture, and neither need join in, consent to or acknowledge a deed, mortgage or instrument of the other.

23 PA. CONS. STAT. ' 3505

Disposition of property to defeat obligations

(a) Preliminary relief. C Where it appears to the court that a party is about to leave the jurisdiction of the court or is about to remove property of that party from the jurisdiction of the court or is about to dispose of, alienate or encumber property in order to defeat equitable distribution, alimony pendente lite, alimony, child and spousal support or a similar award, an injunction may issue to prevent the removal or disposition and the property may be attached as prescribed by general rules. The court may also issue a writ of ne exeat to preclude the removal.

(b) Inventory of property. C Both parties shall submit to the court an inventory and appraisement, which shall contain all of the following:

(1) A list of the property owned or possessed by either or both of them as of:

(i) the date of separation; and

(ii) thirty days prior to the date of hearing on equitable distribution.

(2) A list of the value of the property owned or possessed by either or both of them as of:

(i) the date of acquisition;

(ii) the date of separation; and

(iii) thirty days prior to the date of hearing on equitable distribution.

(3) A list of the liabilities of either or both of them as of 30 days prior to the date of hearing on equitable distribution, whether or not the liabilities are related to the property set forth in the inventory and appraisement.

(c) Discovery. C Discovery under this part shall be as provided for all other civil actions under the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

(d) Constructive trust for undisclosed assets. C If a party fails to disclose information required by subsection (b) and in consequence thereof an asset or assets with a fair market value of $500 or more is omitted from the final distribution of property, the party aggrieved by the nondisclosure may at any time petition the court granting the award to declare the creation of a constructive trust as to all undisclosed assets for the benefit of the parties and their minor or dependent children, if any. The party in whose name the assets are held shall be declared the constructive trustee, and the trust may include any terms and conditions the court may determine. The court shall grant the petition upon a finding of a failure to disclose the assets as required under subsection (b).

(e) Encumbrance or disposition to third parties. C An encumbrance or disposition of marital property to third persons who paid wholly inadequate consideration for the property may be deemed fraudulent and declared void.

23 PA. CONS. STAT. ' 3506

Statement of reasons for distribution

In an order made under this chapter for the distribution of property, the court shall set forth the reason for the distribution ordered.

23 PA. CONS. STAT. ' 3507

Division of entireties property between divorced persons

(a) General rule. C Whenever married persons holding property as tenants by entireties are divorced, they shall, except as otherwise provided by an order made under this chapter, thereafter hold the property as tenants in common of equal one-half shares in value, and either of them may bring an action against the other to have the property sold and the proceeds divided between them.

(b) Division of proceeds. C Except as provided in subsection (c), the proceeds of a sale under this section, after the payment of the expenses of sale, shall be equally divided between the parties.

(c) Liens. C The amount of any lien entered of record jointly against both of the parties, together with any interest due on the lien and docket costs, shall be deducted from the proceeds of sale and the amount of the liens entered of record against either of the parties, together with any interest due on the liens and docket costs, shall be deducted from the share of the party against whom the lien is filed and paid to the person or persons to whom the amount of the lien is due and payable.

(d) Record of divorce decree. C No decree of divorce shall be effective to change the existing law relating to liens upon property held by tenants by the entireties except a decree of divorce that is valid in this Commonwealth and not until the decree of divorce or a certified copy of the decree is recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds of the county where the property is situate. The decree shall be indexed in the grantor's index against each of the tenants by the entireties.

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