Who Pays What After a Divorce?
When a couple decides to divorce, it is not only assets that must be divided during the proceedings, but also any marital debt that has accrued. As with assets, a family court will generally divide debts along equitable lines, meaning that the person who makes more or who has more assets will often be tasked with managing more debt, whether they originally incurred it or not. It may set your mind at ease to better understand the rationale judges use to make such determination so you can know if you are being unfairly saddled with too much debt.
Debts in Divorce
When discussing marital assets and debts, equity is the watchword - Illinois is an equitable distribution state, as opposed to a community property state, which means that the courts will divide both marital assets and debts according to each spouse’s ability to pay and the income they make. Generally, it is the fairest approach, as it ensures that each debt is assigned to the person who is most likely able to pay it. It most cases, the debt will follow the asset. For example, if one spouse is awarded a vehicle that still has a balance due on a loan, that spouse will take responsibility of both the ownership of the vehicle and payment of the loan.
In terms of actual division, it is important to note that not only jointly held debt is considered marital property. Debt incurred by only one spouse during the course of the marriage is also considered marital debt. An example of something like this would-be credit card purchases. Even if one spouse’s name is not on the credit card agreement.
If a Debt Goes Unpaid
The one worry when marital debts are assigned to one spouse or the other is that they may either refuse to pay or be unable to do so. If one spouse flatly refuses to pay off a debt or declares bankruptcy, you may have an immediate problem, because despite what your Judgment states, creditors are permitted to seek payment from either spouse if their name appears anywhere in the relevant paperwork.
Ask a Legal Professional
It is important that you have a clear picture of how asset and debt division works so that you can adeptly navigate the process. Contact an experienced DuPage County property division attorney at MKFM Law to get the help you need. Call 630-665-7300for a confidential consultation today.