FAQ: I think my husband and I are heading toward a divorce. We’ve been married for almost 6 years. We had a long-distance relationship prior to getting married. My husband was in Doylestown, PA and I was in New York City. After we got engaged, we decided that we would live in Pennsylvania. I gave up my job in NYC and moved to Doylestown after we were married. We have 2 children under the age of 10, and I am a stay at home mom. Our family home was purchased in my husband’s name, as were his car and my car. We do not have a prenup. What am I entitled to in the event of a divorce? Does the fact that the house and cars are in my husband’s name affect what I may get? Where do we file if we want to handle the divorce ourselves?
Answer: I will answer this question generally as I cannot properly evaluate your situation without knowing other information. There may be additional marital assets that are subject to equitable distribution, such as investments, other real estate, 401ks, etc.
Equitable Distribution of Assets in Pennsylvania Divorces
In Pennsylvania, the process of dividing marital assets and debts is called equitable distribution. Marital assets and debts are typically assets or debts that were acquired during the marriage. Even though your house and cars are in your husband’s name only, this does not mean that they are not subject to equitable distribution.
Equitable distribution does not mean all marital assets/property are divided equally. Rather, it is a division of property that is fair under the circumstances. Thus, one of the spouses may receive more than 50% depending on the circumstances.
Bucks County Master’s Hearing
Since you and your husband live in Bucks County, you will file for a divorce in Bucks County. If there is a dispute about how to divide the marital assets that can’t be resolved by agreement, the case will eventually be reviewed by a Family Master, who is an attorney representing the Court as a mediator. The Master will conduct the hearing, and the goal is for the parties to settle without appearing before a judge. The Master will make a recommendation as to how the marital assets and property should be divided after considering all the evidence, argument and other relevant factors. The parties can accept what the Master suggested or the parties will begin to negotiate based on the Master’s suggestions. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement they can request that a Judge decide their matter at a hearing.
It is best that you consult with a divorce lawyer in Bucks County to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to in the event of a divorce.