Divorce is an emotionally trying experience. On top of the social and emotional pain couples and families endure, couples have to determine how they are to support themselves, and their children, after the divorce has been finalized.
How should divorcing couples divide their property? This question is left up to two parties, the divorcing couple, or the courts. If the couple cannot come to an agreement outside the regular legal channels, the courts will make the decisions as to what they think is best for the family.
Out of court settlement
Couples can make decisions on property division without the assistance of a court. Alternate dispute resolutions are becoming a more popular method for settling divorces. Besides the financial benefits that come from not having to appear in court, alternate dispute resolutions are often less emotionally harrowing.
Couples can work out how assets need to be divided through negotiation, mediation or collaboration. With alternate dispute resolutions, the divorcing couple may negotiate the best course of action for their dividing family, working out who is to keep the family residence, how child custody or child support is to be managed, and what assets will be given to each individual.
If the divorcing couple is unable to come to an agreement on their own, they may appeal to a court to resolve property division. Being an equitable division state, Pennsylvania courts will not necessarily split property evenly. If the court is left to decide how assets are to be divided, it will portion property according to the financial needs of the family.
Equitable division may result in decisions that are against the will of the couple. Unfortunately, cooperative resolutions end when the couple decides to take matters before a judge. This can be a good option for a couple incapable of resolving matters on their own.