A couple’s debt must be divided fairly during divorce, but fair does not mean 50/50 in all cases. Debt is a fact of life for a rather large portion of Americans. Few people can honestly say that they are entirely debt-free. Most people have a car payment, a student loan, a mortgage, or credit cards they have needed to make ends meet. When a marriage ends, the marital debt must be divided just like the marital assets. There is a lot that goes into determining which spouse is responsible for which debt. Even if a credit card or loan is only in one spouse’s name, it could be considered marital debt depending on the circumstances. As dividing debt in an Illinois divorce can be highly complicated, it is very important that you speak to a qualified Illinois divorce attorney. An attorney can help you understand how your debt may be divided based on your personal situation.
What is Marital Debt?
Often, married couples will take on debt together to buy things that benefit them both. When this is the case, that debt is likely to be seen as marital debt, even if it is only officially in one spouse’s name. For example, if one spouse uses a credit card in their name only to pay bills during hard times, that debt is likely to belong to both spouses in some ways.
How do Courts Divide Debt in DuPage County?
In many cases, spouses can decide how to divide their debt by agreement. Mediation can help spouses avoid a courtroom battle and work together to find a solution. If the court does need to step in and help divide debt, they will consider factors like whether one spouse is more responsible for the debt than the other. Additionally, if the debt is tied to an asset - like an auto loan tied to a car - the spouse who keeps the asset usually keeps the debt.
Courts will also consider things like each spouse’s ability to work and earn money to pay the debt. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that everything a married couple owns or owes is to be divided in a way that is fair to both parties, considering a wide range of factors. Understanding how this works in practice can be challenging, so it is important to involve an attorney.
Contact a DuPage County, IL, Divorce Attorney
Andrew Cores Family Law Group is a firm of experienced Wheaton divorce lawyers. Our skilled legal team will do all we can to see that your marital debt is divided in a way that is fair and favorable to you. For a complimentary consultation, please contact us at 630-871-1002.