When a couple goes through a divorce, the parties must reach an agreement or obtain a Pennsylvania court order regarding property division. A spouse who received assets through inheritance while married may want to keep those assets after the divorce.
Marital Property Law
Under Pennsylvania law, marital property includes all assets acquired by both parties during their marriage, minus any exceptions. Inherited property is an exception to the marital property presumption.
Increase in Value
If the inherited asset increases in value during the couple's marriage, the amount by which the asset's value increased is considered marital property and the court can divide that amount accordingly.
In Pennsylvania divorces, courts adhere to an "equitable distribution" guideline for dividing marital property. Equitable distribution does not mean that each spouse receives 50 percent of the marital property---rather, the court considers fairness. Factors for determining fairness include the length of the marriage, prior marriages, each spouse's education and earning potential, each spouse's sources of income and the standard of living during the marriage. The court would therefore look at fairness when dividing any increase in value from inherited assets.
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