Written By: Brandy Miller | November 1, 2016 | No Comments
When a couple marries in Berks County or the Reading region, or any region in Pennsylvania, the assets they gather during marriage are considered part of marital assets. If the couple then divorces, their financial lives need to be separated. In cases where a couple shares a bank account, pension, retirement fund, home and other financial responsibilities or assets, one or both partners may be tempted to try asset trading or liquidation to protect himself or herself.
While such maneuvers can be beneficial, they can also be harmful to divorce proceedings and can cause confusion. In worst case scenarios, liquidation or asset trading can lead to accusations of asset hiding.
Understanding Marital Assets
In Pennsylvania, property acquired before marriage will generally not be considered as part of marital assets. Additionally, assets acquired by either party after a legal separation are not considered part of marital property. However, assets acquired by either party during the marriage — with the exception of gifts — are considered marital property. In Pennsylvania, legal separation is considered the time when a couple stops living together, stops representing themselves as a couple and stops marital relations.
Once marital assets have been defined, they are valued and the process of dividing them will begin. During this process, it is mandatory that both parties disclose all assets.
The Dangers of Asset Trading or Liquidation
Unfortunately, some partners will attempt to liquidate or trade their assets to avoid dividing them in the way they feel is unfair. For example, one partner may attempt to liquidate some assets — selling boats or other property acquired during the marriage — believing they get to keep the money. Other partners will attempt to trade assets with their children or other family members in an attempt to hide the assets and valuables.
Doing so can lead to complications during the divorce and will not protect either party from division of assets. Even if a partner liquidates assets to raise needed funds for a divorce or living expenses during a separation, they may be accused of trying to hide assets or may face other complications in the divorce proceedings.
Getting Legal Advice
As soon as the separation occurs or is likely to occur, consult a family law attorney to understand how to handle assets. If you need to liquidate some assets so you can generate money to start your life after your marriage, it is important to get an attorney’s legal advice to ensure you are not harming your divorce proceedings.
If you’re getting a divorce in Berks County or the Reading region in Pennsylvania, contact Miller Law Group for a consultation to review how you can protect your assets. The family law attorneys at Miller Law Group can help you submit a property settlement agreement (PSA), which explains how you wish to divide assets. The attorneys can also advise you on ways you can and cannot use your assets during the divorce proceedings so you can avoid harming your divorce claims. Before you make any decisions about your assets, contact Miller Law Group for advice and representation.