Pennsylvania couples who decide to divorce will have major decisions to make about how to handle the family home. The marital home is often one of the largest and most valuable assets to be included in divorce negotiations, and it can carry emotional significance beyond its financial value. In addition, unlike bank accounts and retirement or investment funds, real estate cannot be easily divided in two. As a result, many people decide to sell the home as part of the divorce.
One of the biggest points of contention in a divorce can be division of the parties' assets. If no prenuptial agreement has been signed then Pennsylvania law governs how assets are divided. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state which means that if the case goes to trial, a judge will ensure that property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. That is important to remember when trying to negotiate a property agreement in an effort to avoid trial. The only property that is considered in the determination is marital property so the first step in the process is for the court to determine what property will be included. The court will then need to determine the value of the marital property before determining a fair distribution. The value is based on "fair market value." The last step in the equitable distribution process is the actual division of property.