When a couple dissolves a marriage, the entirety of the marital estate, including property, assets, and liabilities, must be fairly allocated between the spouses. Apportioning debt in a divorce is a similar process to that of dividing marital assets; however, there are a few unique considerations that can arise. For example, when one party handles the finances during a marriage, it may be possible for the other spouse to be unaware of certain debts. Consequently, it could be argued in court that the unknowing spouse should not be liable for the debt.
Illinois property division laws direct Courts to equitably divide the marital estate, including debts. However, equitable distribution does not mean that debts will automatically be split equally. For this reason, having a tenacious Illinois marital debt lawyer by your side can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Regardless of whose name assets or liabilities are titled in, you deserve a fair outcome.
If you are contemplating or are in the midst of a divorce, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with experienced Illinois marital debt attorney James Teeter. He can explain how we help clients in Rockford and throughout Winnebago, Boone, and the surrounding counties and communities navigate all aspects of the marital property and debt division process.
If you are seeking a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, we encourage you to read through the following debt division FAQs to learn how marital debt is divided in Illinois.
We can help reduce the stress of your divorce and property division by taking on the full responsibility for understanding what assets and debts comprise your marital estate and developing a pragmatic and comprehensive strategy for getting you your fair share.
We start by understanding the facts. We gather documents and ask the right questions to accurately assess the financial situation of your marriage. It is our duty to uncover issues you may not have thought to raise.
We know how to find hidden assets, fairly value assets, compile financial information, and explain it to you. Thus, you do not need to be a detective or an accountant. We can help.
Under Illinois law, marital debt encompasses debt taken on by either spouse during the course of a marriage. Responsibility for a marital debt is not determined by whether only one spouse’s name or both appear on the documents. Instead, even hidden debts in the name of only one spouse could constitute marriage liabilities.
Non-marital debt generally includes liabilities that either spouse incurred prior to the marriage. Spouses may designate debt as non-marital by executing a written agreement. For example, debts related to a gift or inheritance to only one spouse, such as an inherited house, can be detailed in such an agreement.
Common types of debt that are divided in Illinois divorce cases include:
Illinois is a non-community property state, meaning that all marital property and debt must be equitably distributed. However, equitable distribution does not equate to equal; rather, Courts must divide debt based on what is fair in accordance with the specific circumstances of the parties.
If ex-spouses can come to an agreement regarding debt division, it can significantly influence a court’s final determination. As such, it is critical to retain an experienced divorce attorney who can zealously advocate for a favorable outcome.
If you are going through a divorce, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn how experienced Rockford divorce attorney James Teeter Jr. can handle your asset and debt division from start to finish.
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, both parties are required to present an accurate accounting of their finances to the divorce court, known as a Financial Affidavit.
Attempts to furnish false information on a financial affidavit are punishable by economic sanctions, including attorney’s fees. Consequently, it is critical to ensure that all information and documentation are accurate.
As a divorce law firm that has been serving Rockford and the surrounding communities for years, we regularly assist in preparing comprehensive Financial Affidavits, as well as assemble required documentation that must accompany an affidavit, including:
It is not uncommon for one spouse to handle most of the finances and bookkeeping. Under these circumstances, divorce and debt division proceedings can expose liabilities that the other spouse was unaware of. If the unknowing party can prove he or she was completely unaware of the debt, the court may assign it solely to the ex-spouse, especially if it was not used for the benefit of the marriage or family. However, just because a spouse does not know about such debt does not automatically mean that they will not be responsible for any part of the debt.
With a free 30 minute consultation, we can provide a general overview of the law as it may relate to your situation and questions. Through the 90 minute consultation, we can learn about the specific facts and circumstances of your situation and your objectives, and explain how the law will likely apply to your situation and possibly strategies that potentially can be pursued in seeking to secure your objectives given the law.
 Financial Affidavit, Illinois Courts, https://www.illinoiscourts.gov/forms/approved-forms/forms-approved-forms-circuit-court/financial-affidavit/.
 Getting Started Financial Affidavit (Family & Divorce Cases), Illinois Courts, https://ilcourtsaudio.blob.core.windows.net/antilles-resources/resources/af7686e0-cdf7-4dbd-ba96-098ec95a5a1b/FA%20Getting%20Started.pdf.