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Summary: While there is no deadline imposed otherwise, the parties to a Pennsylvania low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce are free to decide when the agreed assets will be transferred to the respective parties. In an expensive, contested action, the Court typically orders when that will happen.

Once the assets of a marriage have been divided, either by the parties having settled between themselves as is required in a low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault Pennsylvania divorce or by the Court in an expensive, contested one, the decision as to when the parties will each receive their respective assets may be made by the parties themselves (or by the Court in the contested case). Either way, unless there is some practical or legal reason for a delay, the asset distribution ought to be wrapped up as soon as any necessary paperwork can be completed.

Sometimes an asset may not be readily accessible for a while. A good example of this is a pension to be shared, the payout of which may not begin until the spouse owning the pension retires. Another could be realty with a house on it that is still being built or undergoing repairs or renovation, but even then the deed could be transferred now instead of later. Theoretically, the party receiving such realty may wish to delay ownership until the job is completed satisfactorily and any government inspections completed. In such a case, there ought to be an agreement professionally prepared in writing specifying a timeline for completion and conditioned upon a satisfactory independent third party inspection with any failure allowing for an agreed cash payment to be substituted for the property.

Similarly, if a joint investment account is to be put in the name of just one party, the contract controlling that account could affect when the transfer should be made. For example, a scheduled interest payment could be canceled due to a change in ownership making it wise to defer the transfer until after the interest is added to the account. Tax considerations could also influence the timing of such a transfer.

All that said, there is, other than one decided upon by the parties or ordered by the Court, no deadline otherwise exists by which time an asset must be distributed. To avoid any issues that delays could possibly cause, your lawyer will recommend that all assets be transferred at the earliest possible time. That will minimize problems, especially ones that may be brought about by a party, having had time to reconsider a decision, causing difficulty such as attempting renegotiation.