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Montgomery County Division of Marital Debt Attorney

Dividing Accumulated Debt

Going through a divorce can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. You are probably aware that you have to divide assets and property, but you may wonder what will happen to your debts. Will you be responsible for paying a debt that your ex-spouse owes?

All debt accumulated during the course of a marriage is called marital debt. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, which means you and your ex may both be liable to pay for any mortgages, loans, credit card balances, and tax obligations.

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Is There a Way Around It?

If you do not want to be responsible for your ex’s debt, you would have to contact the creditor and see if they will have your name taken off of the debt. This must happen before the courts start the distribution process. The courts typically see marital debt as shared regardless of whose name is on it or how the debt came about; but if the debt was made before the marriage, or if there is written proof from the creditor that you were removed from the account, it could alleviate your liability.

There have been situations where only the debt that was accumulated for family reasons, such as a new house or purchases for the family, was considered marital debt and everything else was not included. Every case is unique, and no matter what precautions you may take, it is smart to prepare yourself for the possibility that you will have to pay off a portion of the debt.

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How Is Debt Divided in Pennsylvania?

When dividing marital debt, the judge will look at the amount of the debt, and how and when the debt occurred to determine how much each spouse will be obligated to pay. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, so there is no guarantee that it will be a 50/50 split. Other deciding factors are:

  • The duration of marriage
  • Age and physical/mental health of each party
  • Economic circumstances of each party
  • Sources of income/potential earnings
  • Contributions from one party to the other (example: if one party paid for the other’s education)
  • Benefits and insurance
  • Assets and current value of other marital property
  • Contributions of one party as a homemaker
  • The couple’s established standard of living
  • Tax consequences for distribution of assets
  • Child custody

No two marital debt division cases are alike, and that’s why it is important to hire a Montgomery County divorce financial issue attorney to walk you through the process. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., has been handling divorce cases in the Montco area for 25 years. Contact our office today at (866) 290-9292 for a free consultation. We will go over your options and help you get a better understanding of what to expect during your case.

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