The end of a marriage involves several legal steps and decisions. Determinations need to be made about many issues, including how property will be divided, if spousal support is appropriate, as well as child-related issues if a couple has a family. During the divorce proceedings, spouses may come to agreements on all of these matters. However, they may also argue over who gets what. In such cases, the court will intervene and make decisions on their behalf. When determining how a couple’s assets will be divided, Illinois follows the equitable distribution method. This also means that any marital debt will have to be split fairly. If you are concerned about what will happen to your debt once you are divorced, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help navigate this complex issue.
What Constitutes Marital Debt?
There are many reasons for the accumulation of debt. Money is often borrowed to pay for higher education, to purchase properties, or to start a family business. Each spouse may bring personal debt to a marriage, or in some cases, none at all. Marital debt refers to any debts that a couple accrues after they are legally married. Therefore, if one party had significant student loans or credit card balances that he or she racked up prior to the marriage, that would not be considered marital debt. Similarly, any loans or bills that are accrued after the divorce are the responsibility of the spouse who made the purchases or took out the loan.
Under Illinois law, spouses are responsible for each other’s expenses to maintain the household or support the family during the marriage. This can include buying food, clothes, and toiletries, as well as paying rent or mortgage, vehicle costs, and health insurance. If these items are not paid for outright, they may be charged to a credit card. For housing, the mortgage payments would be made through a bank loan.