Legal Distribution


Equitable distribution is the phase of a divorce where the property of the spouses is divided. As Pennsylvania is not a community property state, assets are not divided equally as a rule. There are certainly circumstances where property is equally divided. There are many factors to be considered in equitable distribution of property.

An area of dispute and often of litigation involves determining which property is marital property and included in the division and which property is not marital and is therefore excluded from division, remaining the property of the owner spouse without distribution to the other spouse. Prior to division of property either by agreement or by court determination, discovery of assets, accounts, etc. is performed so that each knows what is owned by the other and by both parties. This is common even in very straight forward matters.

Property that is subject to division includes property that was accumulated during the marriage and appreciation of value of assets during the marriage. By way of example, if the wife was employed by a large company for five years before marriage and then she divorced after fifteen years of marriage (twenty years on the same job), then the retirement assets that accumulated over the fifteen year marriage would be marital property subject to division and the five years of retirement assets she accumulated before marriage would not be marital property.

Likewise, an inheritance to one spouse remains the property of that spouse unless it is put into joint accounts, joint names or used for a joint purpose, such as a home renovation. Of course, there are exceptions to this.

For these and many other reasons, it is wise to consult experienced counsel before entering into any agreement.


A property settlement agreement is usually a comprehensive agreement to wind up divorce issues. A property settlement agreement (PSA) may be as comprehensive or as limited as desired by the parties. This agreement has certain common terms and sections, but each agreement is unique and should be tailored to the needs of the client.

Once a divorce decree is signed by a judge and the PSA is incorporated into the decree, the PSA becomes a court order and is enforceable as a court order. Therefore, when entering into a PSA, be sure of your representation and be sure to read the agreement several times so that there is complete understanding of all of its terms and conditions.

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Michael E. Eisenberg Law Practice 2935 Byberry Road, Hatboro, PA 19040 (267) 722-8383

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