Equitable Distribution

Couples who have settled their divorce in Pennsylvania may recall that divorce settlement agreements are final and enforceable only if there has been a full and fair disclosure of marital assets. A recent decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court tests this principle in a case where one spouse suspected that her husband may have been […]

En Banc: Superior Court Holds that Timing, Rather than Purpose, Determines Marital Nature of Disability Payments

November 5, 2013 Court Decisions

An en banc panel of the Superior Court last month issued an important decision on the issue of whether disability payments should be characterized as marital property in the context of a divorce. In Yuhas v. Yuhas, 2013 PA Super 283 (October 28, 2013), a surgeon underwent a carpal tunnel surgery several months prior to the […]

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Lopsided Equitable Distribution in Favor of Business Owner Vacated

November 5, 2013 Complex Financial Issues

Perhaps the recent non-precedential Superior Court opinion in Rice illustrates the hazard that is inherent when a business owner gives half of the stock and pays an equal salary to his spouse who does not actually work in the business. The Fayette County trial court in Rice v. Rice, No. 1125 WDA 2012 (October 31, […]

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In-kind Distribution of Stock Disfavored by Divorce Court

September 8, 2013 Business Valuation

A decision announced recently by the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, McCulloch v. McCulloch, 69 A.3d 810, illustrates why buyouts are generally favored over in-kind distributions of stock when dividing the value of family businesses in equitable distribution proceedings. The trial court in McCulloch, faced with uncertain valuations of the businesses from both sides and […]

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Husband’s Divorce Settlement Forecloses Action by His Corporation Against Wife

August 18, 2013 Complex Financial Issues

In Habjan v. Habjan, ___ A.2d ___ (Pa.Super.2013), the Superior Court was confronted with a question of whether to “pierce the corporate veil” by holding Husband responsible for a lawsuit initiated by his business corporation against Wife, thereby abrogating the release that Husband gave her in his marital settlement agreement. Husband and Wife were each […]

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Concealed Oil and Gas Rights Are Marital Property Subject to Equitable Distribution

June 20, 2013 Complex Financial Issues

A recent unpublished decision of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania confirms that oil and gas rights, not disclosed in the discovery or inventories of the divorcing spouses, nevertheless must be considered when dividing marital property in equitable distribution. In Welsh v. Welsh, No. 237 WDA 2012 (June 19, 2013), the Superior Court affirmed the decision […]

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Double Dip Prohibited in Divorce: IRA Edition

April 19, 2013 Alimony

A recurring issue in divorce litigation is the treatment of marital assets that generate income, such as pensions, rental real estate and businesses. Pennsylvania case law establishes clearly that these assets can be divided as property in equitable distribution or counted as income for alimony, but not both. A recent decision published by Adams County […]

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Protecting Assets in Divorce

December 9, 2012 Divorce

One of the first issues that spouses may encounter during a marital separation is the problem of protecting assets, particularly bank accounts, investments, personal property, and cash. There is a natural tendency toward mistrust at the beginning of a divorce case, which can lead to paranoia or  reckless misdeeds if it is not handled properly. […]

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In Divorce, Judges Won’t Do Pots and Pans

May 26, 2012 Divorce

Whether you were married two years or twenty-five, chances are that you and your spouse have accumulated a lot of “stuff” – furniture, rugs, dishes, knick-knacks, pots and pans. When you separate or divorce, that stuff has to be divided. As you might imagine, no judge or hearing officer wants to spend hours hearing about […]

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Gains on Invested VA Disability Benefits are Marital Property

May 3, 2012 Court Decisions

The Superior Court this week heard the plea of a Vietnam Veteran who argued that the increase in value of his VA benefits, which had been deposited into an investment portfolio prior to marriage, should retain the exempt character of the underlying VA benefits, which may not be divided in equitable distribution. One cannot imagine […]

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