Worrying about what’s going to happen with your possessions is common in Pennsylvania divorces. Fewer people stop to think about the impact that their debt might have on their financial future.

However, in a Pennsylvania divorce, the courts are probably going to split both debts and assets. Understanding what happens during property division as part of a divorce can make it easier for you to strategize for the optimal outcome in your divorce.

Under state statutes, the courts have the authority to divide debt and assets

The equitable division standard requires that Pennsylvania Family Court judges look closely at a family’s circumstances before splitting marital property. They need to consider everything from people’s health and earning potential to the custody of the children in the family in order to create fair solutions for property division.

Generally, only marital debts will be subject to division. That is typically the debt during the marriage. The name on the loan, credit card or other debt won’t matter as much as the date that you acquired the debt and the purpose of the debt. For example, a student loan only in your spouse’s name may get split between partners if the intention was to use the education to help support the family.

On the other hand, if your ex racked up thousands of dollars on a credit card because they were having an affair, the courts may exclude that debt from the property division process, as they likely will do with debt from before the marriage.

In some cases, the courts will divide the debts between spouses. Other times, they may give one spouse more assets as well as more debts to balance out the property division process.

Although it is impossible to predict the exact outcome in property division, determining which debts are marital and which ones will likely be separate can give you an idea of how much debt will play a role in your divorce. Your attorney can help you.