We Only Have Marital Debt–Do We Need a Marital Settlement Agreement

Posted on February 6th, 2020 in Family Law

Under Pennsylvania law, spouses are not required to gain court approval for separation, meaning they can privately contract the division of their estate. Though you may think you and your soon to be ex can act civilly without court intervention, having a marital settlement agreement is beneficial. But what happens when you have no marital assets–only marital debt?

What is Marital Property vs. Marital Debt?

All property acquired by the couple during their marriage is considered marital property and thus, is subject to division during the divorce proceedings. However, property acquired before the marriage or after the marriage if acquired by inheritance or divorce is considered separate property, owned by one spouse. 

Marital property includes money earned and property acquired after the marriage and can include stocks, pensions, retirement accounts, and trusts.

Nonmarital property includes premarital assets, inheritances received by either party during the marriage, gifts to a spouse other than from the other spouse, property sold or disposed of in good faith during the marriage and property excluded by a valid prenuptial agreement.

Marital debt refers to debt incurred during the marriage. During a divorce, those debts will be divided to determine who is responsible for repaying what. It becomes tricky when spouses co-signed on the debt, meaning they both can be held responsible. 

A good example of this is student loan debt and divorce. Like your material possessions, your debt will also be divided based upon the equitable distribution model which takes into account various factors like the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, etc. 

We Have Marital Debt. Should We Get a Marital Settlement Agreement?

Yes. The short answer is that you should do everything in your power to protect your assets as you move into this new phase of life. By getting a settlement agreement, you have a legally-bound civil contract that will resolve all these questions like who gets what, how will custody be determined and who is paying what debts. 

Protect Yourself by Following These Marital Debt Tips.

While you seek representation, consider the following tips as you navigate your divorce. 

  1. Review all debt–student loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc. Create a list of amounts and when things need to be paid off by.
  2. Don’t pay off everything before the divorce is finalized. You may be doing yourself a financial disservice. 
  3. On shared accounts, remove your name if possible. Also, consider refinancing loans.
  4. Make sure the financial responsibilities are clear in the divorce agreement.
  5. Call Kalinoski Law Offices to represent you.

Need a Marital Settlement Agreement? Contact the Scranton Lifetime Lawyer at Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. Today

Our Scranton family law attorney is available to provide you legal representation and guidance on protecting your assets during a divorce and ensure you are paying back the debt that is fair. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.

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