Going through the divorce process can be emotionally challenging. However, financial challenges can make the process worse, particularly for those who have large amounts of debt on credit cards or personal loans. Here is a look at how property division — including debt division — is handled during a divorce proceeding in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. This means that all property acquired in the course of the marriage must be split in a fair manner during the divorce proceeding. This property includes both assets and debt.

The family law court will take into consideration several factors when determining the most equitable way in which to split assets and debt. For instance, it will look at each spouse’s salary and who assumed responsibility for the care of the children. The court will also look at each spouse’s earning potential. Of course, any assets or debt that a spouse accrued before getting married will remain his or hers alone.

The ideal way of addressing property division — including debt division — during a divorce proceeding in Pennsylvania is for both parties to find common ground and resolve this matter at the negotiation table or through divorce mediation. This will increase their chances of achieving an outcome that is mutually satisfactory. If they cannot resolve their property division outside of court, they have no choice but to go through traditional divorce litigation. In this situation, a judge will determine the outcome of the matter, and unfortunately, his or her decision might not necessarily be what one or both divorcing spouses would have desired.