If you are getting divorced, there are probably a thousand questions running through your head at any moment. Divorce can have major personal and financial implications. One issue many people worry about is what happens to debts in a divorce. You or your spouse may have student loans, credit card debts, personal loans, a mortgage, and other debts. What happens to this debt when you get divorced? Who is ultimately liable for debts accumulated during a marriage? The answers to these questions vary. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand your financial rights and responsibilities during your divorce and the best way to protect your financial interests.
Is the Debt Marital Debt or Non-Marital Debt?
The first question you will need to ask yourself regarding debt is whether the debt is considered marital debt or non-marital debt. Ideally, spouses will have signed a prenuptial agreement that clearly explains which debts and assets are marital and non-marital. However, if there is no such agreement, the debt classification will be determined by Illinois law.
Per Illinois law, marital debts are those debts which were acquired during the marriage. Non-marital debt is obtained before the couple weds. However, there may be exceptions. If a debt was used exclusively for the benefit of one spouse, one could argue that it is non-marital debt even if it was accrued during the marriage.
Equitable Distribution of Debts in Illinois
Illinois follows “equitable distribution” laws when dividing assets and debts. Unlike in community property states, Illinois courts divide debts in a way that is fair based on the spouses’ unique situation. When deciding how to allocate debt, courts weigh the needs of each spouse, the length of the marriage, the assets each spouse receives, the nature of the purchases, who benefited from the debt, and other factors.
Can Creditors Pursue Me for Payment of My Spouse’s Debt?
Unfortunately, even if a court assigns a particular debt to a spouse, that does not mean he or she will follow through with paying the debt. Unfortunately, both spouses may still be responsible to the creditor. For example, suppose both spouses’ names are on a credit card and the court assigns credit card debt to the husband. If he fails to pay the credit card debt, the creditor can pursue the wife for repayment. A divorce does not affect a creditor’s right to pursue repayment. This is why most divorce lawyers encourage couples to sell assets to pay off joint debt if possible.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer
If you are getting divorced and have concerns about the allocation of debt, contact the skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys at Goostree Law Group for help. Call [[phone] for a free consultation.