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How are Debts Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Before a divorce can be finalized, a married couple must deal with all of the property and debts. This raises an important question: How are debts split up in a divorce in Illinois? The answer depends on many factors. In Illinois, marital debts are subject to equitable distribution—meaning financial liabilities will be split in a manner deemed to be most fair. Here, our Chicago divorce lawyer explains the key things to know about how debts are split in a marital separation in Illinois. 

Illinois is an Equitable Distribution State

As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that Illinois is an equitable distribution jurisdiction for divorce. Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/503), a divorcing couple’s property is divided up in a manner deemed to be most fair. An equitable distribution can be an even (50/50) split—but that is not a requirement of Illinois law. 

Debt and Other Financial Liabilities are Property

Notably, the Illinois equitable distribution statute is clear: The term marital property is defined in a manner “including debts and other obligations.” In other words, from a legal perspective, a marital debt is treated similar to a marital asset in a divorce. It will be divided in a manner deemed equitable given the specific circumstances of the marriage. 

Understanding the Factors that Affect the Division of Marital Debts in Illinois

In dividing assets and liabilities, Illinois courts are empowered to review a wide range of different factors. If there is a dispute, a court must divide the debt in a manner that is most equitable (fair) given the totality of the circumstances. Some factors that will be considered include: 

  • The duration of the marriage; 
  • The current and future financial prospects of each party; 
  • The reason the debt was incurred; 
  • Whether property is attached to the debt (car loan, mortgage, etc); and
  • Any marital misconduct that contributed to the divorce. 

Any property settlement in a divorce in Illinois must address marital debt. The best way to handle marital debt in a divorce will always be determined on a case-by-case basis. An experienced Chicago, IL family law attorney can help you find the right solution. 

Get Help From Our Illinois Divorce Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd, our Illinois divorce lawyers are diligent, forward-looking advocates for clients. If you have any questions about how debts are divided in a divorce, we can help. Give a call now or send us a direct message to schedule your confidential consultation. With an office in Orland Park, we provide divorce representation throughout the region, including in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County and Will County.

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