Pennsylvania Law starts with the presumption that all real or personal property acquired by either party during the marriage is marital property regardless of how it is titled. Marital property also includes the increase in value (during the course of the marriage) of any non-marital property.
The Court is thus more concerned with when the property was acquired rather than how the property is titled.
The presumption can be overcome if the property falls into one of the following statutory categories:
- Property acquired prior to the marriage or property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage;
- Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties entered into before, during, or after the marriage;
- Property acquired by gift, except between spouses; bequest; devise; or descent, or property acquired in exchange for such property;
- Property acquired after final separation until the date of divorce except for property acquired in exchange for marital assets;
- Property which a party has sold, granted, conveyed, or otherwise disposed of in good faith and for value prior to the date of final separation;
- Certain Veterans’ benefits;
- Property to the extent to which such property has been mortgaged or otherwise encumbered in good faith for value, prior to the date of final separation;
- Any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for any cause of action or claim which accrued prior to the marriage or after the date of final separation regardless of when the payment was received.
Property which is not marital property is often referred to as “separate property” or “nonmarital property.” The court only has authority to equitably divide marital property at the time of equitable distribution.