The debts you share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse may divide fairly. Pennsylvania’s statutes consider debts and assets acquired during marriage as marital property subject to division. They may not, however, divide exactly in half between two spouses.
A family court judge typically reviews various factors to decide on a fair split of the debts and assets spouses take with them. Your work and ability to earn income after your divorce may influence the outcome. The length of your marriage and how much you contributed to your household could also make a difference in the division.
Joint accounts may require closing
According to Experian, a joint account with both spouses’ names means that creditors may collect payments from either individual. When one spouse acts as a cosigner for another spouse’s individual account, creditors may collect from the co-borrower if the borrower defaults.
By adding a spouse as an authorized user to an account, the owner becomes liable for payments even after divorce. With joint accounts, both owners may pay off their balances and agree to close them. Some couples discuss selling their shared assets to pay their outstanding credit card debts.
A judge may decide to assign liability for joint accounts
Divorce decrees could include court orders for assigning a joint account to one individual. One spouse then becomes liable for making the payments on the rest of the account’s balance. As reported by U.S. News, one spouse may also choose to remove an authorized user during divorce. The amount of debt then owed by the one spouse could help negotiate a fair trade for other valuable assets.
The court may not require you to pay for debts your spouse generated after separating or finalizing your divorce. Maintaining copies of your financial statements could help you avoid courtroom disagreements over individual versus shared debt responsibilities.