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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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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In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Husband: Couple shared ownership in a business, resulting in complex property division issues. After investigation of the couple’s financial history, our client received a much more equitable divorce agreement than what was originally offered.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Mother: Father became aggressive and violent toward Mother during their separation, prompting her to seek full custody of their children. At trial, the court granted Father supervised parenting time only and Mother was awarded child support.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Husband: Couple had been locked in a contentious divorce for nearly three years and changed lawyers several times. Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. provided the experience and organization needed to resolve the case within months, avoiding a trial for our client.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Wife: Wife left a successful career to raise children. When Husband denied spousal support based on Wife’s previous earnings, Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. countered with evidence that retraining was needed, and our client was awarded spousal support.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Wife: Husband tried to intimidate Wife into a divorce settlement that heavily favored his interests by drawing out the case. Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Wife through trial, where she received an equitable share of marital assets.
In a case where Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. represented Father: Mother began cohabitating with a new partner who made significantly more than our client. Law Office of Demetrios N Dalmares and Associates Ltd. successfully demonstrated that the new relationship justified a modification and obtained a favorable outcome through negotiation.