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st. charles divorce lawyerFinding out your spouse has thousands of dollars in gambling debt can be one of the most difficult things that can happen when you are getting divorced in Illinois. Yet for some spouses, this is exactly what happens during the divorce process. For some chronic gamblers, their addiction is out of control and can drive their family to the brink of insolvency. 

The non-gambling spouse who has filed for divorce may be worried about whether he or she has to pay half of their partner’s gambling debt. What happens to all that money? And what if their shared credit, such as a home equity loan, was leveraged in order to get more money for gambling? 

Illinois is an Equitable Division State

Luckily for the non-gambling spouse, Illinois divorce law mandates that marital assets and debt be divided equitably, rather than equally. This means that the judge will consider who brought money into the marriage, who spent it, and why. For example, if a couple has $300,000 in total assets at the time of the divorce, but would have had $400,000 if the husband had not gambled away $100,000, it would not be unusual for the wife to be given $200,000 and the husband $100,000. 

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Kane County divorce attorney debt division

A divorce often involves conflict, or at least extensive discussions, regarding the equitable division of marital property. It is understandable that you and your spouse will both have strong feelings about the assets that you want to retain, for both personal and financial reasons. However, as you engage in these conversations, it is important not to forget about the impact of marital debt on the proceedings. You will want to be sure that you are not left with more debt than you can handle, and that any debts remaining in your name are appropriately managed.

What Is Considered Marital Debt?

In Illinois, debts are treated much the same as assets when it comes to determining which are considered marital and non-marital. This means that a debt incurred by one of the parties before the marriage will likely remain separate, or the sole responsibility of that person, but a debt incurred by either or both parties during the marriage may be considered the joint responsibility of both partners. Along with marital property, these marital debts must be distributed equitably when the partners decide to get a divorce.

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Kane County divorce attorney division of marital debt

There is no doubt that student loan debt is on the rise in the United States, and something that is burdening the nation. According to America’s Debt Help Organization, the total of U.S. student debt loans is up to a shocking $1.4 trillion. The investment in college is a big decision, and this high price tag often comes with great rewards. Obtaining higher education is important to many, and can offer new career opportunities that can propel the future of families in a positive direction. However, this debt is increasingly becoming an issue of concern for couples who are considering getting a divorce. It is important to consider how the division of assets and debt during your Illinois divorce proceedings can impact you. 

Who Is Responsible for Student Loan Debt in a Divorce?

Typically, the debt that was acquired from student loans before the marriage is of the responsibility of the spouse who attended higher-ed schooling. However, if the student loan debt was obtained during the marriage, then it is likely that will be considered marital debt. Many factors are still taken into consideration, such as when the debt occurred in the marriage, who was the main benefactor, and the earning power of each partner. For example, if a partner acquired a medical degree to bring in a higher income for the family, it may be deemed marital debt since the increased income benefited the marriage as a whole entity. 

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