Every state has its own laws for handling divorce, Pennsylvania included. But exactly what should you expect from the state when it comes to property division? Pennsylvania is a state whose laws follow equitable distribution, which can impact how you may handle your assets and tackle their division.

FindLaw defines equitable distribution as a fair division of equitable marital property. This is done by the courts when a couple is going through divorce proceedings. The courts will always use the same statutory guidelines in order to decide what should be considered fair in any one situation, allowing them to make decisions regarding many cases with vastly different assets.

It’s important to note, however, that “fair” and “equal” are not necessarily considered the same thing in an equitable distribution divorce. What does this mean? Essentially, an even 50-50 split of your property and assets might not be considered fair in the eyes of the court. Things that could cause it to be viewed as unfair is if one spouse has a much higher-paying job, heftier savings, an inheritance that isn’t to be shared with the spouse, or other sources of finance that belong to them alone.

The point of equitable distribution in a divorce is to ensure that both parties involved get their fair share of your joint marital assets, even if that’s not necessarily an equal share. In a situation like this, you may benefit from the aid of an attorney, who can help ensure that the portion of assets that you get really is fair.