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How Is Marital Debt Handled in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on January 21, 2021 in Divorce Finances


Couples choose to end their marriage for many reasons, including financial problems. Perhaps you were a saver and your spouse was a spender, which caused many arguments or conflicts. Regardless of why you have decided that divorce is your best option, there are many issues you and your spouse will have to resolve before you can legally dissolve your union. Your first thought may be how to divide up your assets and property. However, it is important to remember that any marital debt will also need to be divided before you can finalize your divorce in Illinois.

Debt Allocation in Illinois

When it comes to dividing marital assets, Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that each spouse will be allocated a fair amount of the marital estate, including both property and debt. The first step in determining who will be responsible for what is figuring out which assets or debts are part of the marital estate and which ones are considered personal debts. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), any property or debts that you and your spouse acquired after your wedding day and before the day you filed for divorce are included in the marital estate. If the debt was accumulated before you got married or after you filed for divorce, it is usually considered individual debt.

A few examples of marital debt can include:

  • Credit card debt
  • Vehicle loans
  • Student loans
  • Mortgage loan

In some cases, one spouse may have racked up a considerable amount of debt for the family business. This type of debt is typically treated similarly to marital property and therefore should be divided equitably in an Illinois divorce. If the purpose of the loan was to benefit one spouse and not the entire family, then that spouse may be responsible for paying off that debt.

As in most of the divorce-related issues, if a couple cannot reach a mutual agreement, the courts may have to intervene. A judge will use a variety of factors to make a decision, which may include each spouse’s current and future needs, in addition to financial resources, such as his or her earning potential. It is also important to note that child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance can affect each party’s financial situation.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

Facing a mountain of debt may be difficult to overcome, and it can be especially daunting during a divorce. A skilled and dedicated DuPage County divorce lawyer can help you determine what you are responsible for and what your spouse should pay. At Stock, Carlson & Duff, LLC, we have more than 40 years of experience and are well-versed in all family law matters, including how to protect your rights during the debt division process. Call us today at 630-665-2500 to schedule a private consultation.


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