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Marital Property...What Is It In PA?

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Marital Property is any item, whether tangible or intangible that has value, that comes into existence during the course of marriage, but before separation.

By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Divorce Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

The Pa Divorce Code defines for us what is "marital property:"

23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3501  Definitions  (a) General rule.--As used in this chapter, "marital property" means all property acquired by either party during the marriage and the increase in value of any nonmarital property acquired pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3) as measured and determined under subsection (a.1).

Rather than focusing on what specifically marital property is under the Code, it is easier to discuss what marital property is notMarital property does not include:

(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 or property acquired in exchange for such property.

(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.

For instance, where a cause of action to a personal injury settlement accrues during the course of the marriage, but settlement does not occur until after separation, the entire settlement is the proper subject of a marital property claim.  Focht v. Focht (PA Supreme Ct., 2011).

If you have questions about divorce, separation or distribution of assets and liabilities, contact an experienced divorce attorney at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

1 Comment

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