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How Can Marital Debt Affect My Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on November 19, 2020 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles divorce attorney debt division

Over the course of a marriage, a couple often accumulates significant property and assets together. However, the flip side is that they also often incur a significant amount of shared debt. In the event of a divorce, when the couple must transition from one financial entity to two, it is important to account for both assets and debts in the equitable division of property. This often makes for a complicated process, and it is important to understand how you may be affected if you and your spouse have to divide marital debt.

Common Sources of Marital Debt

The first thing you should know is that under Illinois law, marital debt can include not only loans that you and your spouse have taken out together but also many types of debt incurred by each of you individually during your marriage. Some of the most typical examples of marital debt include:

  • Mortgages: If you have purchased a house during your marriage, both the equity in the home and the outstanding debt on the mortgage at the time of your divorce will be considered when dividing marital property.

  • Vehicle loans: A loan taken out on a car purchased by or for either spouse during the marriage can be considered shared marital debt, even if one spouse is listed as the primary owner and driver.

  • Student loans: If you entered your marriage with student loans, they will likely remain your personal, non-marital obligation after a divorce. However, if you or your spouse has taken out additional loans to further your education during your marriage, these can be considered marital debt.

  • Credit cards: Credit card debt accumulated in either spouse’s name during the marriage can be considered marital debt, especially if the card was used to purchase things from which both spouses benefit.

Managing Debt During the Property Division Process

Dividing marital debt can be contentious, as neither spouse wants to be left with an unfair financial burden. In preparation for your divorce, it may be best for you and your spouse to make a plan to eliminate as much marital debt as possible to minimize its impact on the divorce process. If you cannot eliminate all debt, your next best option may be to attempt a cooperative negotiation with your spouse with the goal of ensuring that neither of you is left with a substantial amount of debt for which you believe the other should be responsible

As the likely outcome of the division of debt becomes more clear, it is important that you refinance or otherwise work with lenders and creditors to ensure that the debts left with each spouse are listed in his or her name alone. Otherwise, you could still be held responsible for debts that are awarded to your spouse.

Contact a St. Charles Property Division Attorney

Even under the best circumstances, the divorce process can be emotionally and financially draining. At Weiler & Associates, Inc., we understand how much a divorce can affect your finances, and we want to help you through the divorce process to protect your interests and prevent unnecessary financial hardship. Call our reputable Kane County divorce lawyers today at 630-331-9110 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the details of your case.


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