How Debt is Divided during a Divorce in Illinois

Joint debt or marital debt are typically items such as auto loans, mortgage(s) and credit cards that which both parties are jointly responsible for. From a legal standpoint, this pertains to debts where both parties benefited from the asset or resource acquired from the loan (debt) acquired during the marriage.

The best and quickest way to deal with joint or marital debt during a divorce is to pay off the obligations. This is typically accomplished with the proceeds from the sale of the family home or with other available assets. Not only is this strategy the easiest, but there are several other advantages: certainty, protection/improvement of your credit record, and a fresh start.

Other Options for Dealing with Marital Debt

There are two more options for dealing with marital debt: Continue to share the debt, or divide the debts with each party takes sole responsibility for their own debts.

Continued Sharing of Debt
The main advantage to this method is that no money is required upfront to pay off the debts immediately. However, there is a risk to your credit score should the other party decide or not be able to pay off their share.

Divide the Debt Equally
This method typically requires more work but brings with it the added security of complete control. Taking charge of your own debts means that there is no chance of being liable for decisions made by your spouse after you separate for the most part. We put that clause at the end because there is still some precedent of creditors going after both parties if one party defaults on payments. This is especially true of credit cards.

Overall the most common and significantly more advantageous route is paying off the debt. This may not be easy, but this path leaves both parties with a clean slate.

Download our free property division worksheet which covers a wide range of asset and debt categories to help you stay organized.


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