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My Spouse Has a Lot of Debt. Will I Pay the Price in a Divorce?

 Posted on October 06, 2023 in Divorce

DuPage County, IL divorce lawyerDivorce can be a complicated process for any couple to go through. If you have children, you will need to decide which parent has which rights and responsibilities. If you own a home, you will need to decide what will happen with that property in the divorce settlement. If you have any assets, those will need to be divided in some way. And if either spouse has incurred debt, that is another difficult matter that requires resolution. If you are considering divorce but are concerned about how debt division might affect you, a DuPage County, IL divorce attorney will be able to shed light on this sometimes confusing topic.

What Is an Equitable Distribution State?

The majority of states, including the State of Illinois, are considered “equitable distribution states.” This means that instead of dividing a couple’s assets equally in a divorce settlement, a different calculation is used to determine the fairest way to distribute everything. Rather than taking everything the couple has acquired and dividing it all down the middle, the courts will take into account all their shared assets, debts, the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s unique needs, and other information.

What Is Marital Debt?

An important part of this calculation is figuring out which debts are considered marital or nonmarital. Much like marital assets - anything that was acquired during the course of the marriage - marital debt would be any debt accrued during the marriage, unless there is any documentation stating that either spouse is excused from this debt. Marital debt can include:

  • Credit card debt

  • The remaining balance on a car loan

  • The remaining balance on a mortgage

  • Student loans granted during the marriage

  • Medical bill debt

There are some exceptions to the rule that debts accrued during marriage will be equitably shared by both spouses. Examples include:

  • If one spouse took out a loan during marriage but it was for their sole benefit.

  • If one spouse owns a business and the prenuptial agreement that the couple signed specifies that all debts related to the business are theirs alone.

  • If one spouse accrued significant debt following a decrease in the value of a personal investment and then clarified in a postnuptial agreement that that debt would remain their sole responsibility.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Wheaton, IL Debt Division Lawyer

If you are considering divorce but know your spouse has accrued significant debt, an experienced lawyer will be able to explain what options you may have to protect your finances. Call Goostree Law Group at 630-364-4046 today to schedule a free consultation with a DuPage County, IL divorce attorney, so you can plan for your financial future despite your spouse’s debt.

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