As Americans struggle with inflation, supply chain issues, and rising prices, many are turning to credit cards to make ends meet. Credit cards can be a useful financial tool. However, credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control.
If you are getting divorced, you may have many questions and concerns about credit card debt. How is credit card debt divided between spouses? Do we have to pay off our credit cards before we can divorce? What if a spouse promises to pay credit card debt and fails to do so?
Responsibility for Credit Card Debt in Illinois
Illinois courts handle debt similarly to property in a divorce. A debt that a spouse acquired before getting married is usually non-marital debt while debts acquired during a marriage are marital debt or joint debt. However, many different factors can influence liability for debts in a divorce. Sometimes part of a debt is considered marital and part of it is considered non-marital.
Both spouses are responsible for marital debt, but they may be able to negotiate debt payment terms during property division discussions. For example, the spouse responsible for paying a debt may be given a greater share of the marital assets to account for this.
Non-Payment of Debt After Divorce
Divorcing spouses are often encouraged to pay down debt, especially credit card debt, as much as possible in a divorce. Many divorce lawyers and financial experts suggest that spouses sell assets to pay off debt, so they do not have to worry about it after the divorce. This gives the spouses an opportunity for a fresh start. Of course, not everyone is in a position to completely eliminate debt in anticipation of a divorce.
If you decide to divide joint credit card debt between you and your spouse during your divorce, you should know that credit card companies are not bound by the terms of a divorce. If a debt is in both spouses’ names, the creditor has the right to pursue both people for repayment – even after they are divorced. It does not matter if your spouse pledged to pay off the debt during divorce negotiations. If your name is attached to the debt, you could be on the hook for the debt if your spouse fails to fulfill his or her obligations. This is one reason it is so important to work with an experienced divorce attorney who can ensure you are taking the steps needed to protect yourself and your credit score during divorce.
Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer
If you are getting divorced and you have credit card debt, work with our accomplished St. Charles divorce attorneys for help. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free consultation.