The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Do I Have to Pay For My Spouse’s Credit Card Debt if We Get Divorced?

Posted on in Chicago divorce attorney

b2ap3_thumbnail_kane-county-divorce-attorney.jpgFinancial disagreements are one of the most common reasons people seek an Illinois divorce. While all couples must navigate their financial behavior patterns and some disagreement is likely, when one spouse’s behavior puts a family’s financial future at risk, divorce may be inevitable. However, this naturally raises a concern: If a spouse is spending an excessive amount of money and putting him or herself into debt, and if debt accumulated during a marriage is generally considered marital debt, who pays for this debt when a couple gets divorced? Answering this question may seem deeply unfair and unappealing, but dividing marital property and debt is an essential part of divorce that must be done before the final order can be handed down. 

What is an “Equitable” Division of Debt? 

Fortunately perhaps for the spouse who did not take on the debt, Illinois law requires marital assets and debt to be divided equitably. This means that debts will not be simply split in half, but rather that spouses will be assigned debt according to what would be the most fair. Spouses are encouraged to use mediation or other conflict-resolution services to reach an agreement about how to handle their marital debt. However, when this is unsuccessful, a judge may need to allocate the debt. Judges can use many factors when deciding how to split debt, including: 

  • How the debt was accumulated, and whether the spouse who did not spend the money knew about the actions of the spouse who did spend it

  • How much money each spouse makes at the time of the divorce

  • The future earning potential of each spouse

  • Each spouse’s education

  • Whether one spouse gave up career opportunities to be a stay-at-home parent 

  • Any physical or mental health difficulties faced by either spouse that could interfere with employment  

Do I Have a Case for Dissipation? 

When one spouse is spending marital money without the other spouse’s knowledge in ways that only benefit themselves after the relationship has begun to irretrievably break down, there may be a case for dissipation against the financially irresponsible spouse. Dissipation is blatant financial waste that causes a significant loss to the marital estate and, if a dissipation claim is successful, the division of assets and debt can be adjusted to take the dissipative behaviors into account.  

Call a Batavia, IL Marital Debt Division Lawyer

One of the most frustrating behaviors to deal with during a marriage is reckless spending beyond your family’s means. At The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand that sometimes credit card debt by your spouse can be incurred without your knowledge and we know how important it is to try to avoid getting trapped in an endless debt cycle after divorce. To get representation from an experienced Batavia, IL marital debt division lawyer who will vigorously represent your interests, call 630-409-8184 to schedule an initial consultation. 

Source: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6200000&SeqEnd=8675000

 

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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