How Marital Debts Are Divided In A Divorce
Many couples who go through divorce have more debts to divide than assets. Obtaining an equitable division of those debts can have a significant impact on your future financial security.
At Rowe Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss marital debt. From our offices in Wyomissing and Lancaster, we assist clients throughout Berks, Lancaster, York, Schuylkill and Lebanon counties and the Lehigh Valley.
Is The Debt Marital Or Separate Property?
Many people assume that a debt will go to the person who incurred it. That is not necessarily the case in divorce. Under Pennsylvania law, if a debt is acquired during the marriage and used for a marital purpose, it is a marital debt and subject to equitable distribution. It doesn’t matter whose name the debt is in.
In some cases, it may be possible to argue that a debt is not marital. For example, if a spouse used a credit card to buy flowers or travel on vacation with a girlfriend or boyfriend, that debt may not be marital. If a spouse bought drugs or gambled, that would be considered wasting assets — and the debt would not be subject to division.
When dividing marital property during your divorce, our goal is to help you obtain a fair division of everything you are entitled to have — and to keep you from incurring debts that shouldn’t belong to you.
How Are Marital Debts Divided?
Pennsylvania courts divide marital debts in the same way they divide marital assets: using the law of equitable division. “Equitable” does not necessarily mean equal. The judge will consider who has the better ability to pay debts. As a result, debts may be divided unequally.