When most people go through a divorce, their first area of concern, aside from the custody of their children, is what will happen to their assets. Most divorcing individuals get so stuck on who gets what that they forget that they must divide their marital debts as well. Understanding how marital debts are divided in Illinois can allow you to better prepare for your financial situation post-divorce.
Your debts are still active
Going through a divorce doesn’t dismiss any of your marital liabilities. Any debts that were taken out during the time of your marriage, such as an auto, a mortgage or even a personal loan, are considered marital debts and must be divided during the divorce process. It’s vital to realize that even if one party made payments on a specific debt throughout the entire marriage, that doesn’t make it just his or her responsibility.
Following the laws in your state
The various states throughout the country have one of two laws that they use to govern divorce proceedings. These include a community property law and an equitable distribution law. It’s important to realize which one will be governing your divorce as they handle various aspects of the divorce differently.
In community property states, all assets and liabilities that were accumulated during the time of the marriage are to be split 50/50 between both spouses. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the debt. It’s considered marital debt and gets split right down the middle. In states with equitable distribution laws, the distribution of liabilities is a bit different. In these states, if a debt is solely in your name, you can expect to have it as a liability after your divorce is finalized. When it comes to liabilities that are in both you and your former spouse’s names, they will be divided in what is considered an even manner by the presiding judge.
During the divorce, you’re likely concerned about who gets what assets, like your house and your car. While this is an important part of the process, it’s also important that you think about the liabilities that you incurred throughout the marriage. These liabilities will need to be split up between you and your former spouse in a manner that is compliant with your local state laws.