Epic divorce battles are fought over which spouse gets the Illinois family home, retirement account, favorite car, or any number of expensive or personally treasured objects of value. And although it is never a good idea and sometimes can be damaging, the kids all too often become the pawns in child custody and child support matters. However, how liabilities are apportioned between the divorcing couple is just as important as each begins their new life.

Most people factor in secured debt, such as a home mortgage, when dividing assets. For example, if one spouse gets the family home, it is understood the actual value of the asset is the market value of the house minus the amount owed on the mortgage. Financial experts caution that credit card debt must be assessed and handled similarly. And this is true both for existing amounts owed as well as potential future debt.

The amount of credit card debt at the time of a marital split should be determined. If the account was opened by both spouses as co-signers, they are jointly responsible for the debt. Even if the divorce agreement stipulates one spouse is fully responsible for a certain credit card debt, the credit card company can seek payment form the other in the event of a default. At the time of the marital split, each spouse is individually responsible for their own debt, and the best way to monitor this is by closing the joint cards and getting new individual accounts.

Divorce is a time of great stress and uncertainty, but important decisions must be made. A family law attorney may be able to assist in working through the various family law legal issues.