Marital Debt Law and Legal Definition

Marital Debt could refer to the debts that are incurred during marriage. Debts are divided during divorce which determines who is responsible to repay the debt. If both spouses co-signed for a debt, both spouses will probably be held to "joint and several liability" for the debt. In most community property states, both spouses are equally responsible for the repayment of debt incurred during the marriage, even if only one spouse enjoyed the benefit. Typically, the debts that one spouse brings into the marriage (separate or non-marital debt) remain the responsibility of that spouse. In special circumstances (in community property states), both spouses can be held responsible for separate (non-marital) debt. When a joint tax return is filed, the Internal Revenue Service holds both spouses to joint and several liability for the tax.

The following are some case law ( Iliinois) on marital debts:

In the case In re Marriage of Awan, 388 Ill. App. 3d 204, 327 Ill. Dec. 656, 902 N.E.2d 777, 2009 Ill. App. LEXIS 91 (3 Dist. 2009), loans by wife's brothers to her during the dissolution proceeding between the wife and her husband were properly deemed to be marital debts which the husband was ordered to pay pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/503(d), as there was sufficient documentary evidence and testimony to support the determination that the loans were made for the purpose of paying the maintenance and other financial obligations of the husband which he failed to pay.

Contingent liabilities are not fairly treated as marital debt. [Blackstone v. Blackstone, 288 Ill. App. 3d 905, 906-907 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 1997)]