If you are thinking about filing for divorce, you may wonder how the court will divide your and your spouse’s finances. Additionally, questions often arise regarding which assets your spouse is entitled to receive.
Because divorce laws are complex, the financial aspects of divorce proceedings can be misunderstood. Below are four myths people often have about the financial implications of divorce.
1: Separate accounts mean separate money
Pennsylvania divides assets accumulated during marriage equitably between both spouses. Just because you have money in an account that does not have your spouse’s name on it does not guarantee the money will be exempt from divorce proceedings. If the account appreciated during the course of your marriage, your spouse will likely receive a portion of the increase in value.
2: Your spouse’s debt is not your problem
Just as the courts typically divides assets equitably between both spouses, so too are debts equitably divided. Both spouses are responsible for debts on joint credit cards, regardless of who ultimately was the big spender.
3: Divorce removes my ex-spouse as a listed beneficiary
A divorce does not automatically remove your ex-spouse as a listed beneficiary. It is critical to review the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and any life insurance policies you own. Even if you update your estate plan to reflect your divorce, the beneficiary designation will supersede whatever you have written in your will.
4: Unknown assets do not have to be reported
Just because you are unaware of an asset does not mean your spouse does not have to report it. A skilled attorney can help you identify whether your spouse is hiding assets and take the necessary steps to help you achieve a fair division of assets.