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Being fair with the division of debt in divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2021 | Divorce |

When you and your spouse agreed to divorce, one of the issues that you wanted to make sure you covered was how much debt you’d end up being left with. Many of the debts you carry were taken out for the benefit of your spouse, so if you won’t see the results of the debts in terms of a higher income later or a payoff from their business increasing your marital income, then you don’t think you should have to cover them.

It is reasonable to discuss debts that you took out together and what they were for when deciding how to divide them. For example, if you took out loans for your spouse’s vehicle, schooling or business expenses, you may want to negotiate to have them repay those debts, since you won’t benefit from them in the longer term.

You might negotiate a reasonable share of marital debts based on your income or who benefitted the most from them. For instance, if you have $2,000 on a shared credit card that is primarily made up of purchases you made for your own clothing or accessories, you may reasonably state that you’ll take those debts in exchange for not taking on debts that were for your spouse’s benefit.

While many married couples do split their debts 50/50, this isn’t necessarily required. If you earn less than your spouse or took out those loans or debts to further your spouse’s schooling or career, then it might be reasonable to ask that they cover a larger portion of the debt than you.

What can you do if your spouse wants to divide your debts 50/50?

In Illinois, debts are divided based on equitable distribution standards. That means that they should not necessarily be divided 50/50 if you can show that all things are not equal.

Factors like your economic circumstances, how your marriage did or did not benefit from the debt and others may help determine who should take on the debts and how they should be divided. You won’t necessarily get stuck with half of the bill as long as you are able to show why you shouldn’t have to pay.