• Locations
    • Chicago Office 77 W. Wacker Drive, 45th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601
    • Lake Forest Office 100 Saunders Rd., Suite 150 Lake Forest, IL 60045
    • Lisle Office 3333 Warrenville Rd.,Suite 200 Lisle, IL 60532

Dealing With Joint Debts in Your Divorce

Marital debt on a laptop with gavel, contact Chicago Property Division Attorney when needing guidance on marital assets.

During a divorce in Illinois, all property and assets earned, acquired, or accumulated during your marriage will be divided between you and your spouse. This goes for marital debts, as well. Most couples hold joint credit cards, have personal loans in both their names, and often act as co-signers on big ticket purchases, such as cars and homes. Even if you are not listed on these accounts, you could still be liable for helping to pay off the balance.    

Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debts in a Divorce?

While couples often anticipate legal battles over property and other marital assets during a divorce, they may overlook the fact that they will need to divide all marital debts between them, as well. Under the Illinois Statutes, debts accumulated by either spouse over the course of the marriage may be subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. This means that rather than simply dividing debts 50/50 between you and the other party, the judge will consider certain factors, including: 

  • The length of the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s income or earning potential;
  • The amount of non-marital property, assets, and debts they possess;
  •  Each person’s individual contributions to the marriage and in accumulating the debts. 

Even if your spouse has a debt in their name alone, you may be responsible for a portion of it if they can show you benefited from it in any way. Likewise, if they racked up considerable amounts on joint credits cards without your knowledge or to finance an affair or addiction you may be able to avoid having to assume responsibility for the amount owed.  

Ways of Dealing With Marital Debts in Divorce

The best strategy for dealing with marital debts in a divorce is to close all joint accounts and pay off the balances prior to filing. In some cases, couples may want to consider the option of filing for bankruptcy as a way of making a fresh start. You will also want to have your divorce attorney review any pre or post marital agreements that may be in place, which often address the issue of how marital debts will be divided. If you do carry debts into your divorce proceedings, there are several options for dealing with them: 

  • Disputing the total amount you owe;
  • Trade a portion of your share in other marital property or assets for a reduction in debts;
  • Negotiate for payment of debts to be included as part of any spousal support agreements. 

Request a Consultation With Our Chicago Divorce Attorneys

To protect yourself against having to pay more than your fair share of debts in divorce, get the Women’s Divorce and Family Law Group on your side. To request a consultation, call or contact our Chicago divorce attorneys online today. 

There are many factors to consider when contemplating divorce, and a pre-divorce planning session can help you begin to plan for a divorce. Please contact the professionals at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group by calling (312) 585-6604 or clicking here to schedule a consultation.


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Contact Information

Downtown Chicago/Loop Office
Lake Forest Office
Lisle Office
Lake Forest Office

100 Saunders Rd.
Suite 150

Lake Forest, IL 60045

Lisle Office

3333 Warrenville Rd.
Suite 200

Lisle, IL 60532

Downtown Chicago/Loop Office

77 W. Wacker Drive
45th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601

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