How to Deal with Joint Debts in Your Divorce

IL divorce lawyerOne of the most contentious aspects of the divorce process is the division of property. Many people first think of the assets they will lose during the divorce, but the fact is that debts are also divided during the process. Like the assets that are divided, only marital debt is divided during a divorce. It is not uncommon for married couples to hold joint credit cards, or have a personal loan that is in both of their names. Both spouses are also often co-signers on bigger ticket items too, such as the marital home and vehicles.

Even when one spouse is not listed as an owner on certain assets, they may still be responsible for a portion of them during the divorce. For this reason, it is important that anyone going through a divorce knows how to deal with the debt they have accumulated during the marriage.

Are You Responsible for Your Spouse’s Debts?

Under the Illinois Statutes, debts are divided during the divorce process in the same manner assets are divided. Illinois follows equitable distribution laws when it comes to debts, meaning debts are divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. When making decisions on the division of debt, a family judge will take certain factors into consideration, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The income or earning potential of each spouse
  • The amount of assets, debts, and non-marital property the couple owns
  • The contributions each spouse made to the marriage
  • The amount of debt each spouse accumulated during the marriage

A judge may determine that you are responsible for a certain portion of the debt if you benefited from it in any way. For example, if you and your spouse shared a vehicle that was in your spouse’s name, a judge may determine that you are responsible for the debt. On the other hand, if your spouse racked up considerable debt on a credit card that you did not know about, or financed an affair or addiction by going into debt, a judge may find that you are not responsible for that debt.

How to Deal with Marital Debts in Divorce

The best way to deal with debts during a divorce is to close all joint accounts and pay off all balances prior to filing. In some cases, it is also best for the couple to file for bankruptcy, which can help when they are trying to get a fresh start. If you do carry debt into the divorce proceedings, there are several ways to handle them, which are as follows:

  • Dispute the total amount you owe,
  • Exchange a portion of your share of marital assets for a reduction in debts, or
  • Negotiate for spousal support agreements to include a portion of the debt you must pay

A family lawyer can advise on the best way to handle debts during your divorce.

Call Our Illinois Family Lawyer Today

A dedicated Hinsdale family lawyer can help with many aspects of your divorce, including how to divide debts and assets. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we will protect you from having to pay more than your fair share of marital debt and ensure your rights are always upheld. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

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