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Do I Share My Spouse’s Debt in a Gray Divorce?

 Posted on May 26, 2024 in Divorce

Geneva, IL grey divorce lawyerMany issues come up during the divorce process, but some of those issues are more pronounced when a couple is in their 50s or over. Dividing marital assets, for example, is often more complex in a gray divorce because the parties usually have more wealth to be divided.

Similarly, debt is also divided in a divorce. In a gray divorce, the debt can sometimes be lighter than in a regular divorce if the couple is able to pay off their obligations over the years. Many couples are able to pay off their mortgages by their 60s, for instance. In other cases, however, the debt may be larger if the couple has taken on more financial obligations.

Either way, dividing debt can be a complicated procedure in a gray divorce, which is why you should seek a gray divorce attorney to handle the process for you.

What Debt Is Divided in a Divorce?

Under Illinois law, debt is divided in a divorce if it fulfills the following criteria:

  • It was incurred by either spouse during the marriage.

  • It came as a result of something that served the interests of both spouses.

  • It exists at the time of divorce.

This means that each spouse is responsible for the other’s financial obligation as long as it stemmed from something that was for their joint benefit. However, in Illinois debt is divided equitably — meaning fairly — not equally. If one spouse received significantly more benefit from something than the other, the latter spouse may only be responsible for a small part of the financial obligation.

Types of Debt in a Gray Divorce

There are several types of debt that couples in their 50s or later often have when they get divorced, such as:

  • Medical bills: People typically start to have more medical needs after a certain age, and spouses going through a gray divorce may still be paying off medical expenses. 

  • Car loans: Some couples have paid their car loans off by the time they reach their 50s. However, some take on more debt to buy vehicles for adult children who are trying to get their start in life.

  • Business loans: If either spouse took out loans to start a business during the marriage and that business benefited the other spouse, both parties may be obligated to that debt.

Contact a Geneva, IL Gray Divorce Lawyer

Not all debt is divided between divorcing parties. And even if it is, spouses many times do not have an equal share in that debt. This is especially true in cases where one spouse has significantly more wealth than the other. A judge may assign a larger portion of the debt to the wealthier spouse.

Because there are so many factors that determine debt division, the best way to protect your interests is to hire a Kane County, Illinois gray divorce attorney. At Divorce Over 50 - Goostree Law Group, we place a special focus on gray divorces and have helped many clients in their 50s and later get through divorce smoothly and simply. Call 630-634-5050 for a free consultation today.

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