Joint Debt and Divorce
Most couples have some form of debt that they have incurred over the years, especially if they have been together for a long period of time. You buy expensive things, put it on the credit card, and worry about it when the bill comes in. This usually only becomes an issue if the couple cannot find the means to pay off the debt when it is due or if the couple decides they are filing for divorce. Continue reading to learn what to do if you are filing for divorce and have incurred a significant amount of debt throughout your marriage.
Dividing Debt when Going Through Divorce
Most married couples sign credit cards and make large purchases together. While this is convenient throughout the marriage, it also makes it much easier to incur debt jointly. “Joint debt” does not necessarily mean that all of the purchases were made together, it just means that they were made on a joint account. This is important to note if you are considering getting a divorce. In the eyes of the bank and court, all purchases made on joint accounts are liable by both parties. Banks do not change their policies based on a couple’s marital status, thus they can and will come after you if your spouse is not paying off the debt and vice versa.
There are ways to avoid being on the hook for purchases made by your spouse that were not under your approval. Noting which purchases are yours and which are not is a good start to officiating which debt is yours. Providing your attorney and/or financial planner with this information is one of the first steps in trying to unravel the debt that you and your spouse are tangled in. The best way to avoid financial issues after your divorce is finalized is to pay off your debts before your divorce is official. Whether you and your spouse divide it personally or need legal assistance to do so, paying off this debt is the best way to avoid any problems throughout the divorce process.
There is a loophole that many couples do not realize exists. If the card is under the name of one spouse and the other spouse is just listed as an additional cardholder rather than a co-signer, the debt will be solely on the one spouse. The best way to ensure that your debt is your own is to cancel all joint cards and sign them solely under your own name. This is the only way to be sure that your spouse will not run up your debt and card throughout and after your divorce.
Contact a Kane County Debt Allocation Attorney for Help
Proving that debt on joint cards is not your own is almost impossible without experienced legal help on your side. Attorneys can offer you a variety of different solutions to avoid being on the hook for your ex’s debt. If you are considering filing for divorce and have incurred debt throughout your marriage, contact our St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.