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Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3988
Experience:  30 years of experience
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I am a male, 37 and a military spouse of about 3 years. In

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I am a male, 37 and a military spouse of about 3 years. In the past year the relationship with my wife has really taken a turn, as she keeps saying "we're different people", etc. Additionally, I really want a family and she has, since, changed her mind, saying she now definitely does not want to have children. She's an officer in the military, which complicates things. Regardless, I have no understanding of this process, nor did I EVER expect to need to consider it, but here's the problem.
I worked for the government for 6 years and when we moved last, I had to quit my job and started school. My wife is the bread winner and when we married she brought several investment properties, a large retirement fund and many other assets with her. We both contributed some, to these things after marriage.
Now that we're considering divorce, I find myself without a job, in the middle of a degree, with our houses all with mortgages and rented and combined investments, which I contributed to in some small part during our marriage. My question is what should I be considering with respect to how these things are divided in PA, or what does the law say? We have several investment properties with equity, but they're all in her name and all, but one was acquired before we were married. We have retirement, etc, but almost all of those accounts are hers, though she contributed to them (and I may have too), because our funds were all combined when married.
My main concern is not being put out with no job, no house, no retirement and no way of finishing my degree and becoming gainfully employed. Also, we're from PA, but we're in KY and she's in the military, so that complicates things. I didn't make A LOT with the federal government, but I was making 45k and now I'm making 0.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.
I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.
Pennsylvania is an "equitable property" state. Unlike community property states, where most property is equally divided, under Pennsylvania law the courts review the entirety of the circumstances when separating property in divorce. Pennsylvania law views the marital relationship as a partnership. Even if one of the partners never earned one dollar, that partner is considered to have contributed to the family's property (or wealth) and has rights to a percentage of that property.
Marital property includes all property acquired during the marriage, regardless whose name it is under. Pensions and business interests that were developed by one spouse are considered marital property if they were acquired during the marriage. Property that was acquired prior to marriage is generally separate property unless marital funds enhanced its value. In which case there is are arguments that it all becomes marital property through commingling, and arguments that only the increase in value during the marriage is marital property.
23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3501(a) provides:
(a) General rule.-As used in this chapter, "marital property" means all property acquired by either party during the marriage, including the increase in value, prior to the date of final separation, of any non marital property acquired pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3), except:
(1) Property acquired prior to marriage or property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.
(3) Property acquired by gift, except between spouses, bequest, devise or descent.
23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3502(a) provides:
(a) General rule.-In an action for divorce or annulment, the court shall, upon request of either party, equitably divide, distribute or assign, in kind or otherwise, the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct in such proportions and in such manner as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors, including:
The length of the marriage.
Any prior marriage of either party.
The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties.
The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
The opportunity of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income.
The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker.
The value of the property set apart to each party.
The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
The economic circumstances of each party, including Federal, State and local tax ramifications, at the time the division of property is to become effective.
Whether the party will be serving as the custodian of any dependent minor children.
That you are in Kentucky may complicate matters, but you can claim PA residency and file for divorce in PA.
The military aspect may work for you if you are awarded spousal support because the military garnishes the military spouses wages when they receive the support order.
Most attorneys will meet with you at little or no charge to assess your case. It is wise to at least meet with one before going it alone.
I hope the information I have provided is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.
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Good luck.
Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
As my wife and I are "friendly", I would prefer to agree on things without anything getting nasty or personal. I also really don't want to put her in a situation where she's being crushed. However, my question is really what should I be pursuing in that negotiation between the 2 of us?As I understand it I should be looking for...Some form of, temporary, spousal support so I can at least pay the debt I will carry out of the relationship, even if it's only until I can find a job.Part of any equity gained in any of the properties we "co-own"Part of the increase in each retirement or bank fund from the date we were married. Or would it be part of the entire investments? My income allowed her to contribute larger sums to all these. When she convinced me to leave work she had to stop the added deposits.And I think the military retirement she gets when she retires would be partly owed to me, but I don't intend to go after that.Does this list seem accurate? I'm just very concerned, because I left my job to follow her, we shared all our funds and I don't want to be financially destroyed, if we decide we can't work through things.Thanks
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the follow up questions.
Your list is accurate you would be entitled to:
1) temporary support. Here is a link to how that is calculated:
2) Generally 1/2 of the gain of the value of the properties since you were married.
3) 1/2 the value of retirement accounts accumulated during marriage;
4) 1/2 the value of investments accumulated during marriage;
5) 1/2 the increased value of the pension accumulated during marriage. (This calculation can be complicated).
If it is a negotiated settlement you can mix and match, and trade this for that; so you do not have to force sell items.
I hope this additional information is helpful to you.
Kind regards,
(Please do not forget to rate me. It adds nothing additional to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Plus it is good Karma for you. Thank you.)