In the United States, most spouses owe a significant sum of money in the form of home mortgage, car financing, and credit card loans, amongst others. Nerdwallet suggests that the average American household carries a balance of $15,482 in respect to credit card debt. The debt may seem negligible when couples are enjoying a happy married life, but when marriages fall apart, it can present quite a few challenges. In a perfect world, both spouses would be responsible for their own debts and loans that they have taken on their own names. However, we live in an imperfect world and the reality is not that simple.
Debt Division in A Divorce
There are two methods of debt distribution in the United States, which vary from one state to another. In community property states, the couple will be responsible for the incurred debts during the marriage, despite the fact whether they are taken out without the knowledge of the other spouse. On the contrary, in equitable distribution states, the debt responsibility is upon the spouse who actually incurred the debt. Hence, in such states, the couple will assume the obligation of their own debts.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, hence the debt is split fairly between the spouses. A court may take multiple factors into consideration while making a decision, for instance, which spouse is most responsible for the debt incurred. Moreover, a court will also balance out the debt division with the distribution of assets. For example, if one spouse receives a car, the debt in relation to car payments will also be assigned to that spouse.
Despite how the court decides to divide debts between spouses, banks or lending institutions still expect to obtain payment from the spouse who actually took the loan. Therefore, an original loan contract or perhaps a credit card contract takes precedence over a divorce verdict, at least in eyes of the lenders. Moreover, jointly held debts may also present a problem during divorce proceedings. Therefore, court factors all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and then after a careful consideration, they give a decision pertaining to debt division between spouses under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
How Can A Lawyer Help?
If you are looking to dissolve your marriage, it can be highly advantageous for your case to hire an experienced divorce lawyer. A competent attorney will be able to provide you guidance about the divorce process and division of your assets and debts. Moreover, a skillful divorce lawyer will ensure that your interests remain protected throughout the divorce proceedings, which can be extremely important if your divorce did not end up on good terms.
Using their comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a seasoned divorce lawyer will create a strong case in your favor, minimizing the amount that you will be obligated to pay after divorce.
If you want to learn more about this subject or want to schedule a free consultation, contact Casement Law Group at (847) 888-9300.