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Divorcees Must Divide Debts Along with Properties

Posted on in Divorce

Divorcees Must Divide Debts Along with PropertiesA couple in a marriage often must share the good and the bad. The same concept extends to the division of property during divorce. Just as divorcees in Illinois are promised an equitable share of marital properties, they also must take on an equitable share of their marital debt. Couples with low amounts of debt may be able to divide it with little arguing or even repay the debts before the divorce. They may have a greater disagreement if faced with large debts, such as home mortgages, credit card bills, and student loans.

What Is Marital Debt?

As with marital properties, any debts that you incur during your marriage are assumed to be marital debts. Debts created by one person before your marriage are nonmarital debts unless the other spouse agreed to share liability for the debt. If you are unsure whether a debt is marital, you should check your agreement with your creditor to see whether both of your names are on it.

How to Divide the Debt

An equitable division of debt does not mean you have to divide it equally between each other. The law requires you to divide the debt in a way that is fair to both sides, which may be influenced by factors such as:

  • The financial resources you have to repay the debts
  • Who primarily benefited from a debt
  • Who is keeping the property related to a debt

When one spouse has a greater income than the other, it is considered equitable for the higher-earning spouse to pay a greater share of the debt. If a spouse takes out a personal loan for their business, they may be expected to pay a majority of that loan. The spouse who keeps the marital home will often be responsible for most or all of the mortgage balance.

Repaying the Debts

The division of debt is a personal agreement between you and your spouse on who should be responsible for repaying each marital debt. However, the creditors still consider you both equally liable for repaying the debts unless they allow you to modify your contract to remove one of you from the debt. If your former spouse defaults on a debt that they agreed to pay, the creditor may be able to hold you liable for repayment. In this situation, you could take your former spouse to court for violating your divorce agreement.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

How you divide your marital debt helps determine your financial stability after your divorce. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will make sure the division of debt does not put an unfair burden on you. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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