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Property division and retirement accounts during a divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2021 | Divorce, Property Division |

Determining how to divide property and retirement accounts during a divorce in Pennsylvania involves some understanding of the relevant state laws. If you leave a decision up to the judge, they may use equitable distribution. You may want to prepare an argument if you believe that an asset should only belong to you instead of splitting it with your ex-spouse.

How Pennsylvania differentiates between marital property and non-marital property

In the state of Pennsylvania, any property that you acquire while married belongs to both you and your spouse. Even if the title is in your name, Pennsylvania law considers it marital property. You must show the court why an asset is rightfully yours alone if you don’t want to divide it. A family law attorney may assist you in achieving a better division of property and retirement accounts during a divorce.

One marital asset subject to division is your retirement account. The rules of your 401(k) influence how you handle it during your divorce. Some plan administrators require that the couple waits until retirement to divide it. Liquidating the 401(k) isn’t a desirable option because of taxes and potential penalties. A 401(k) rollover into an IRA is a way to avoid penalties and taxes. People who are under the age of 59 1/2 or who haven’t left their employer don’t typically qualify for a rollover.

Negotiation with your spouse

When dividing assets, a judge considers when the couple acquired the property, who acquired the property and when the couple used the property to determine whether it is martial or non-marital. Property that you had before marriage is usually non-marital, but interest gains on it after marriage are usually marital property under Pennsylvania law.

You may negotiate property and retirement asset division with your spouse rather than leave it up to the judge to decide. If you’re worried the negotiation won’t stay civil, you can seek the assistance of a lawyer to facilitate the discussion and offer suggestions on ideal ways of dividing the assets.

When you’re divorcing your spouse in Pennsylvania, it’s ideal to get a written agreement with them on how to divide your marital property and retirement accounts. You can seek the help from a professional in coming to an agreement that both of you are happy with.