When individuals get a divorce in Illinois, the most complex parts of the settlement often revolve around finances. When a court grants a divorce, part of the order includes a division of the couple's finances, including both assets and debts. It is important for individuals to understand how debt may affect a divorce settlement.
The Illinois State Bar Association provides an overview of several divorce-related issues to help residents understand the process. According to the ISBA, the financial aspects of a divorce may come from an agreement between the spouses or from a court mandate. If a couple agrees on the division of their assets and debts through negotiation, it may reduce court-related expenses and make the process go quickly. When a couple cannot agree, a judge makes the decision based on relevant information.
Illinois law requires a court to split marital property, including debts, equitably between the spouses. An equitable split does not always mean that each spouse receives 50% of everything. Rather, a judge attempts to divide assets and debts fairly, based on a variety of factors. For example, a judge may determine that it is fair to make one spouse responsible for a larger amount of debt acquired through purchases not related to the marriage.
According to FindLaw, a judge may take into account numerous factors when deciding how to split marital property. Some decisions relate to how each spouse contributed to the couple's finances during the marriage. A judge may also consider other factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse's employability, child support requirements and tax issues. Some settlements may involve alimony payments. Understanding the factors that go into an "equitable" division of marital property may help individuals prepare for the potential financial challenges that may occur after the divorce is final.