Do I Have To Pay My Ex-Spouse’s Debts In An Illinois Divorce?
Dealing with the family estate during a divorce can be one of the most stressful and contentious experiences you can go through. Whether you cannot agree on who gets the car, the family home, or money in a savings account, divorce can be challenging.
Add debt division into the equation, and without the help from a Schaumburg debt division attorney, you may end up with most of it. You may have to pay part of the debt your ex accumulated as per the court’s decision and vice versa.
How Debt Is Divided Equitably In Illinois
In Illinois, the assets and debts of a divorcing couple are divided equitably, not equally. So instead of splitting them straight down the middle, debt division is distributed between them as per their personal needs and contributions to their shared asset pool.
Illinois courts believe that both parties make financial transactions and play their part in debt accumulation during a marriage. In this case, the court decides how debt is to be distributed between them. A Schaumburg debt division attorney can still ensure that you are represented in a manner that reduces your debt obligation as much as possible.
What is Non-Marital Debt?
Not all debts owed by a spouse are marital debts. As a general rule of thumb, all of the debts that the spouses accumulate before their marriage are individual or non-marital debts and vice versa. The classification depends on when a particular debt occurred (before or after the marriage date) rather than its formal title. This means you may incur a debt your spouse was responsible for, even if you knew about it or not.
There are certain exceptions to this. As per the law, the following cannot be considered marital debts:
- Debt that a spouse acquires in the form of a legacy, gift, or inheritance. For instance, if your relative gives you a house that comes with a mortgage, you will be responsible for paying it.
- Any debt that is acquired before the marriage. Like the point mentioned above, if you owned your own house before you got married, any mortgage you take out on it will be considered non-marital debt.
- Any debt you or your ex accrue after a judgment is passed for legal separation (i.e., you live separately from your spouse without getting a formal divorce). Even if you live in separate parts of a house and rarely meet, that can be considered a separation.
- Any debt that results from a lawsuit that a spouse uses to sue their partner is considered non-marital debt.
What is Marital Debt?
Debt incurred by a couple during their marriage is called marital debt. In this case, it is considered the joint responsibility of both parties. Some types of marital debts include the following:
If your marital home has an outstanding mortgage during divorce proceedings, it can impact debt division. For example, if one of you wants to retain the home post-divorce, you may need to pay the mortgage in full.
Credit card debt
The credit card purchases of either party can also affect the total marital debt. The only caveat is if they used the card to disperse marital assets. A Schaumburg debt division attorney will tell you that you should pay off as much credit card debt as possible before the divorce is finalized to protect yourself.
A car could be considered your or your ex’s property if it was bought before the marriage via non-marital assets. However, if it was purchased with marital assets and if you are listed as a co-borrower on the loan agreement, it will be considered during equitable debt division.
If you or your spouse were enrolled in college during the marriage, any accumulated student debt might be split. If either of you takes out a loan during the marriage to pursue higher education to increase the family’s earning potential, it will be considered marital debt.
Debt Division in Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
These descriptions were just the tip of the iceberg. Debt division can differ from one divorce to another since each comes with unique circumstances. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers regarding this aspect most clients have in mind:
Q. Can creditors come after me for my spouse’s debts post-divorce?
Yes, both credit card companies and other creditors can pursue you if your spouse hadn’t paid debts before they got a divorce. This would include joint debts, even if your spouse was the primary holder. While it may seem unfair, it’s the law in Illinois.
A Schaumburg debt division attorney can ask you to sell as many assets as possible to settle the debts. This can include your marital home. The aim should be to reduce the amount owed as much as possible.
Q. How do I take care of student debt after my divorce?
Both spouses may not have to pay for student debt accumulated during the marriage. To ensure equitable division, the court can consider the following factors:
- If either of the spouses co-signed the loan.
- If either of the spouses made any contributions or sacrifices so their spouse could get an education.
- If the degree acquired from it expanded the family’s earning potential, and to what degree.
Q. Can my spouse lie about their financial assets on the disclosure forms?
They do so at their peril, but there are several reasons why they may do this. Most of their reasons are financial. For example, they may want to ensure that property settlements remain in their favor by transferring some of their income to a bank account that you are unaware of. They may also fail to disclose different sources of revenue. An experienced Schaumburg debt division attorney can point those out.
A discovery can turn the tide in your favor, and your spouse may have to pay hefty penalties for the deception. These deceptions can take a massive toll on the child and spousal support obligations. Child support is based on a specific formula that is based on the difference in income of both spouses. If your spouse lies about their income and source of income by disclosing inaccurate figures or saying they have more debt than you do, they can reduce their obligations.
Most spouses lie about their financial health out of spite. Some may also destroy assets, so their ex doesn’t get them or use them to pay off debts. If that is the case, hire an experienced and determined Schaumburg debt division attorney. You deserve an accurate settlement amount to live a debt-free and stress-free life after your divorce.
If your spouse held the purse strings during the marriage, you were out of the loop when it came to family finances. Since you were left in the dark about them deliberately, why should you have to pay the marital debts? Take action before it is too late. Find out if your spouse is trying to hide assets by looking out for these signs:
Suppose your spouse tries to evade when you ask for financial documents, changes his passwords regularly on a joint bank account, deletes essential files, and reroutes mail to different addresses. In that case, they are trying to hide their financial trail.
Makes you sign suspicious documents
If your spouse makes you sign documents without reading them or makes you hurry, so you don’t have time to go through them, they are acting suspiciously. You should never sign anything without first running it past a Schaumburg debt division attorney. You may unknowingly sign away funds, an inheritance, or accept debts that don’t belong to you.
Their business income takes a sharp dip
Sudden money problems can signify financial deception during a divorce case. It can include a business your spouse said was thriving before but is floundering or on the verge of bankruptcy. They may be lying to reduce its value, so you don’t get much in the form of a settlement.
Unusual financial transactions
If your spouse starts spending a lot of money on friends or giving lavish gifts, they may be trying to hide assets from you. If your partner is withdrawing a lot of cash, chances are they are trying to hide it overseas, so you don’t get any.
Contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov for a Consultation
If you are going through a contentious divorce and believe your spouse is hiding debts and finances, get in touch with an experienced Schaumburg debt division attorney at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov today. We have years of experience working with clients like you who are at their wit’s end because of unfaithful or lying spouses. We can protect your debt division interests, so you don’t end up with the lion’s share.
Get in touch with us for a consultation by dialing (847) 241-1299. Debt division during divorce can involve intricacies that can throw you for a loop. Our team has the knowledge, experience, and positive track record of favorable cases to ensure fair debt distribution. The longer you wait, the lower the settlement you may get. Do you want to pay debts your spouse should be paying for?