Credit card debt can complicate an Illinois divorce

Divorce is often stressful. The process, however, can become even more complicated if credit cards are a part of the equation. An applied understanding of the law may help those going through divorce proceedings in Illinois to fight for their best interests when credit card debt is involved.

Illinois is known as an equitable distribution state. This means that a judge will divide a couple’s assets and debt in an equitable manner, meaning fair but not necessarily equal. In some cases, the party that is assigned a greater amount of assets will end up being responsible for more debt as well. 

When it comes to dealing with debt as part of divorce, it is important to preserve all copies of the rulings and orders issued in court. Just because the court assigned a particular credit card debt to one’s ex does not mean the credit card company will be aware of this arrangement. Moreover, both parties technically remain legally responsible for shared credit card debt, regardless of any family court ruling. The failure of the ex to make the credit card payments may end up tarnishing one’s own credit report. 

Even though the Illinois divorce process can feel overwhelming at times, a person may feel more in control of the situation if the parties agree to handle matters through direct mediation or direct negotiation, instead of through formal litigation. However, if the two parties cannot find common ground in areas such as asset or property division, litigation may be necessary. In this case, a judge will make the final decisions for them, which may not be to the liking of one or both parties.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “Credit cards and divorce: What you should know“, Robert Harrow, Dec. 6, 2016

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