When you found out that your spouse was spending money on items you didn’t know about, you started to get upset. When you realized that they had credit cards and loans you didn’t know about, you decided that enough was enough and that you wanted to get a divorce.
Problematically, debts do need to be divided during a divorce in many cases. However, Illinois is fair about debt division. The state abides by equitable distribution laws, which means that debts aren’t automatically divided equally. Instead, they’re divided equitably, which could help you make sure you walk away with fewer debts.
When deciding how to divide debts, the court will look at factors such as:
- How much the marriage did or did not benefit from the debt
- Why the debt was incurred
- When the debt was taken out
- Each spouse’s economic prospects
- Other factors that are relevant to the case
To protect yourself, it’s helpful if you can show that you did not know about a certain debt or that your spouse took it out secretly in your names. By being able to show that you did not benefit from a debt or even know about it, you may be able to convince the court to assign it to your spouse alone.
You can negotiate for a better arrangement outside court
Another option is to handle your divorce negotiations outside of court and to ask your spouse to pay for the debts they took out. Depending on the circumstances, they may agree to take on the debts that they accrued themselves, since it would not be fair to you to ask you to pay.
If they push to have you pay a portion of the debt, you may want to start collecting evidence and look into litigating.
It’s possible to work out a reasonable solution on how to break down debts related to student loans, auto loans, mortgages, credit cards and others. With the right approach, it could be possible for you to leave your marriage with only the debts that you accrued yourself or that were accrued to support the marriage.