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Illinois divorce attorneyIn a divorce, the couple’s marital assets are not the only thing that has to be divided. Their marital debts, too, must be divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. Just like marital assets, most debts accrued during a couple’s marriage are considered to be property of both parties. In a divorce, the court consider a variety of factors, such as each partner’s income and contributions to the marriage, to determine an appropriate way to divide these debts.

Examples of Marital Debts

Marital debt can include:

  • The outstanding mortgage on the couple’s home;
  • Debt owed on joint credit cards;
  • Student debt for education pursued during the marriage;
  • Medical debt; and
  • Outstanding debt on financed vehicles.

Dividing Debt According to Equitable Distribution

Even if a specific debt was accrued primarily for one partner’s benefit, such as medical bills for one spouse’s treatment or student debt for his or her degree, both partners are liable for it during and after their divorce.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerProtecting your finances as you prepare for the divorce process is perhaps one of the most important tasks you can take on before your marriage officially ends. Planning is everything, as divorce can easily wreak havoc on your financial standing if you are not careful. Protecting your assets and monetary funds is critical if you want to maintain the lifestyle you are currently accustomed to and ensure your financial future is secure.

Constructing a Game Plan

As a divorcing spouse, you are already facing an emotional toll; the last thing you want is to tack on additional stress due to financial trouble, especially when some of that trouble can be avoided if addressed early on. Here are some important steps you can take to safeguard your finances amidst your impending divorce:

Take inventory - As overwhelming as it might be, taking financial inventory is a must. Sit down and create a list of every account and asset you share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You will need to take stock of joint accounts and pay special attention to lines of credit, as well as wills, retirement accounts, and any pending purchases or joint business investments. Also take note of any life insurance policies you opened up while with your spouse. You may wish to modify the policy if you had them listed as a beneficiary. Once you have a clear, thorough list of all your debts, accounts, and belongings, it is time to sit down with your spouse and speak civilly about what you would both like to see happen with each respective item on the list.

Establish your own credit - Whether you are at the beginning of the initial separation process, have a hunch that your marriage is on the rocks, or are diving straight into divorce, it is never too soon to try and establish your own line of credit. If you are on the verge of separating, you are at an advantage; the sooner you establish your own credit, the better off you will be post-divorce. This goes for standard bank accounts, as well. The moment you see your marriage coming to an end, start shuffling away some cash of your own. The divorce process itself costs money, and you will need funds to get by on your own afterward. This is imperative, especially if you have never lived alone or will be on your own for the first time in years.

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