A Closer Look at Dividing Marital Debt in an Illinois Divorce
When a couple is married, they often share many things, including property and assets. However, if their union sours and they decide to divorce, they will have to decide how to divide all of these items. Marital property consists of anything that is acquired during the marriage. Nonmarital property is anything that one spouse obtained prior to the marriage. According to Illinois law, any debt that spouses accumulated together falls under marital debt, so it is, therefore, subject to division. Determining who is required to pay off certain debts can be challenging to say the least.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Debts
Since Illinois is an equitable distribution state, debt is divided “fairly” rather than equally. This method can apply to different types of debt, from cars to home improvements to educational loans. In addition, if a couple owns and runs a company together, that family business must be valued to determine how to divide its assets. If one spouse owned a business before the marriage, but the other spouse helped manage its day-to-day operations, then he or she may be entitled to a portion of its value or worth.
A few of the most common forms of debt that married couples can rack up include:
- Vehicle loans
- Credit card debt
- Student loans
- Second mortgage
- Home equity lines of credit
- Business debt
In some cases, a prenuptial agreement may determine how marital assets will be divided in a divorce ahead of time, which can also include any debt that was incurred during the marriage. However, the spouses may decide to pay off the debt together before the divorce is finalized. If a couple cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court will consider several factors when deciding which spouse should pay off which debts. These factors may be the standard of living, educational level, and earning potential, and child custody, to name a few. If one spouse was not employed throughout the marriage but now is seeking employment, he or she might not be responsible for paying off as much of the marital debt as the other spouse who was the main breadwinner during the marriage.
Contact a Barrington Divorce Attorney
The asset division process can be complicated and contentious in an Illinois divorce. At The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, we recognize how daunting the legal process of dissolving a marriage can be and that is why we offer high-quality legal representation to help you achieve your goals. Our skilled Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer will make sure your rights are protected regarding asset and debt division. Call us today at 847.873.6741 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.