How Is Marital Debt Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County property division attorneyDuring the asset division phase of your divorce, you and your spouse will decide which marital assets you each get to keep. What you may not realize is that you will also have to figure out who will be responsible for your debts. Any debt that you and your spouse jointly incurred during your marriage is considered marital debt. This means both you and your spouse will be responsible for repaying that debt after you are divorced. When it comes to dividing what you owe, things can become contentious, since debt is one of the few things in your divorce that you will not be fighting to keep.

Try to Be Debt Free Before You File

Creditors do not care what a divorce decree says. All they care about is being reimbursed. Even if your spouse was ordered to pay back a certain debt, if your name is on that account, and your spouse does not pay, you could be held responsible. The easiest way to prevent any issues arising from your debt is by not having any debt when you file for divorce. This is not a possibility for some, though you should still try to wipe out as much marital debt as possible before you file for divorce.

Secured and Unsecured Debts

The way you handle a particular debt depends on the type of debt it is. A secured debt is any debt that is secured by an asset, such as a house or a car. Since you do not fully own the house or car until the debt is paid off, the lender can take the asset from you if you become delinquent on the loan. Unsecured debt such as credit card debt is not secured by any assets, meaning the lender does not have the right to collateral for the debt.

If you and your spouse have secured debt, the only way to release one of you from the legal obligation of repaying that debt is to have the spouse who is keeping the asset refinance it in his or her name only. For example, if you want to keep your vehicle, but your spouse’s name is also on the auto loan, you will have to refinance your car in just your name. Credit card debt can be transferred to a different card or account in just your or your spouse’s name.

Contact a DuPage County Property Division Attorney

Deciding how your property will be divided in a divorce can be difficult, especially if your spouse is combative. Dividing up your debt can be just as complicated due to the financial ramifications if you are legally responsible for a debt that your spouse does not pay. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand the impact debt can have on your life after your divorce. Our Aurora, IL divorce lawyer will help you make sure you set yourself up for financial success after your divorce. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 630-409-8184.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/dealing-with-debt-during-divorce-960632

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/help/dividing-credit-card-debt-divorce-6000.php

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/marital-debt_n_4861960

 

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