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What Happens to Debt in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Division of Property

St. Charles IL divorce lawyerSo much of the conversation when we talk about divorce centers around the allocation of assets–property, money, investments. But a couple’s allocation of debt is often just as important, especially in an age where so many people carry the burden of enormous student loans.

Here, we will discuss different types of debt, the factors that can affect debt division, and the process by which debt is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Types of Debt

Marital assets and debts follow a similar pattern in a divorce. Debt that was owned by spouses prior to the marriage will generally be owned by that same spouse after a divorce. Debt that was taken on during the marriage is generally considered marital debt and will be divided between the spouses.

This is especially true when the debt is held under the name of both spouses, such as mortgages and home equity loans. Credit card debt can also be considered marital debt when it was taken out by only one spouse during the marriage if it was spent on items jointly used by the couple. For example, if a spouse used a credit card in their name alone to buy groceries for the entire family, the court may rule that both spouses are responsible for paying off that debt.

What Impacts How Debt is Divided?

Illinois is an “equitable division” state, rather than a communal property state. This means that courts will consider the individual circumstances of each spouse and divide debt according to what is fair, rather than dividing it exactly down the middle.

If one spouse was a stay-at-home parent and did not work, the working spouse has a higher future earning potential and will likely get a greater share of the marital debt. If one spouse used a credit card to gamble, the gambling spouse will probably be allocated the debt they accrued while gambling.

It is important to keep in mind that, regardless of how the debt is divided, until one spouse’s name is removed from the credit accounts, both spouses are responsible. If one spouse defaults on their portion of the debt, creditors can pursue the other spouse for payments.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

Getting divorced when debt is involved can be complicated and confusing. If you have questions about how debt might be treated in your divorce, consider speaking with an experienced St. Charles, IL divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation at 630-584-4800.



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