For a majority of couples undergoing the divorce process, money is often one of the biggest concerns, as bank account balances following the end of a marriage can significantly impact one’s financial standing post-divorce. Bouncing back from and adjusting to the lifestyle transition that divorce brings about can be difficult under even the mildest circumstances, but lack of proper debt division and asset disputes can further complicate each party’s attempt to overhaul their finances.
Divorce Debts and How They are Handled in Illinois State
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes debts and other standing obligations as financial matters to be considered among the division of marital property. The law defines “marital property” as any property (or debts) acquired by either spouse after the marriage took place. This means any joint loans, credit lines, or accounts opened in both spouse’s names are marital property and are considered the responsibility of both parties in the event of divorce. These responsibilities can include everything from cars, furniture, and savings accounts, to stock portfolios and retirement savings plans.
Financial experts harp on the importance of closing all joint credit card accounts during the separation process and establishing independent credit lines for this very reason: You can still be held liable for any debt your spouse incurred throughout your marriage when it comes time to divorce if you are not properly prepared. Unless funds acquired by either party were a gift, inheritance, or were specifically excluded using a pre-marital agreement, those funds are considered joint marital property.
Debts are Divided Equitably, Not Equally
Illinois law differs from other states regarding how debts are divided in a divorce. Unlike others state laws, Illinois law requires that a couple’s debts be divided equitably, not equally. This means that some factors are taken into consideration when determining who is responsible for what, and for how much, following the divorce. For example, each party’s contribution to said debts, along with their individual, personal financial snapshot, are examined by the court.
Each individual’s likelihood of acquiring assets in the future is also taken into consideration, as well as whether or not either party used marital income throughout the relationship for expenses that were not related to the marriage. Expenses related to any children in the family, along with the duration of the marriage are other important factors the court looks at when divvying up divorce debt.
Sorting out financial responsibilities when your marriage ends can be challenging, especially when you and your spouse are engaged in debates over who must pay for what, but proper legal representation can help you both avoid excess stress. Speak with a knowledgeable Lombard, IL divorce attorney to inquire about your rights today. Call Mevorah Law Offices, LLC at 630-932-9100 for a special consultation.
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