Division of Debt Lawyers in Chicago
A couple can accumulate a lot of things during the course of their marriage. This includes children, friends, memories, property, and debt. When a couple divorces, dividing up debt is every bit as important as the division of property and the custody of children.
The division of debt can be a complicated, and sometimes contentious, phase of the divorce process. It often leads to one or both spouses feeling that they've been saddled with more debt than they should owe. You have the right to receive a fair divorce settlement as you transition and begin to rebuild your life. It’s important to hire an experienced family law attorney to represent you throughout your divorce proceedings.
The Chicago legal team at Nottage and Ward, LLP has represented people going through divorces for over 30 years. We serve Cook, DuPage, Lake, and McHenry Counties.
Call our Chicago divorce debt division lawyers at (312) 322-2915 for a consultation.
There are many kinds of debt that a person can accrue during their life. Everything costs something, and if you cannot pay, then you take out a loan. When it comes to debt and divorce, the most important factor isn’t what the debt is related to, but whether it is considered marital debt, as in debt that spouses accrued during the marriage.
Debt is a difficult topic to broach, especially if your relationship with your spouse has deteriorated. Because every individual case is different, we can’t say exactly what debt will be split in the divorce proceedings, but the following types of debt can typically be divided up between divorcing couples:
- Credit card debt
- Auto loans
- Medical debt
- Personal loans
Non-marital debt would be any loans or debt that one spouse got before the marriage. However, a couple can ensure that a loan is considered non-marital so long as they sign an agreement stating so. Similarly, if a debt was inherited, perhaps because it was attached to a house that was left to one spouse, that may also be considered non-marital.
One of the best ways to avoid being saddled with debt that isn’t yours is to create a pre-nuptial agreement. This contract allows you to specify who owes what. We always recommend that anyone planning on getting married puts together a prenuptial agreement with their partner and has it looked at by a skilled family law attorney. If you married before signing a prenup, then a postnuptial agreement may still be able to help you decide who exactly is taking on what debt.
The courts assign debt based on several factors, including your personal financial situation, and your future earning potential, compared to that of your ex-partner. This sometimes results in one spouse being assigned outstanding debt that they didn’t actually have anything to do with.
For instance, if you earn significantly more money than your ex-spouse, you may be assigned debt from loans and credit cards that aren't even in your name. On top of that, even if the court assigned a certain debt to your ex-spouse, banks and other loaning institutions can take collection action against you if you were ever a co-signer and your former partner doesn't make payments.
Divorce settlements are considered private contracts and they DO NOT protect you from credit institutions seeking to enforce the terms of their contract with you.
The court will also take into account your relationship history and financial history when assigning debt. If your spouse worked and supported you while you got your education, you may be assigned a certain amount of debt they amassed during that period. The courts do try to be fair to both parties, but sometimes they get it wrong, or your ex-spouse lies, or the documents used for evidence show incorrect numbers. That is why working with an experienced family law attorney is essential to ensuring the best possible outcome during a divorce.
A divorce is a difficult time for all those involved, especially when debt is involved. But everyone wants to make their proceedings as painless as possible. Getting a fair settlement when dividing up assets and debts can help you during your transition into a new life. On the other hand, being left with a large amount of debt you had nothing to do with prior to your divorce is a recipe for disaster.
Experienced Chicago divorce attorneys like those at Nottage and Ward, LLP can represent your interests during every phase of your divorce. With over 30 years of experience, we know we are the right choice.
Call us for a consultation at (312) 322-2915.
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Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for
Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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