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Naperville, IL 60564

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Who Pays for What After Divorce?


The final judgment from your divorce – specifically the marital settlement agreement – will govern how property, including debts, are divided after the marriage is over. This means that when you walk out of your prove up, which is the final court date on which you’ll actually “get divorced” from your spouse, you’ll know what you have to pay of the debts.

This begs the question: How is it decided what each spouse is supposed to pay? Below, we discuss this in more detail and what happens if one spouse doesn’t pay the debts he or she was ordered to pay.

Debt in Illinois Divorces 

Illinois is what’s known as a separate property state so marital property, debts included, is divided according to principles of equitable distribution. Unlike a community property state where almost all marital property is divided 50/50, a court will divide debts according to a variety of factors.

In Illinois, these factors include:

  • The income and property of each party;
  • The needs of each party;
  • The present and future earning capacity of each party;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • All sources of income, other than that from a job;
  • Any valid agreement the parties made prior to the marriage; and
  • Any other factor the court finds applicable in the case

This isn’t an exhaustive list. However, it should give you a general idea of how a judge will determine how much you will be ordered to pay and how much your spouse must pay.

What Happens if Debt Goes Unpaid?

There’s always a chance that your spouse won’t pay a debt he or she was ordered to pay after the divorce. Unfortunately, this could become your problem because creditors will be able to come after you for the money as the debt is joint. However, this isn’t to say that you will forever be out the money you have to pay.

The best option is always to consult your Naperville divorce attorney to determine the best course of action in your unique case. However, because you are jointly liable for many debts from the divorce, it may be better to pay the debt and then return to court to recover the money from your former spouse.

Again, there is no “right answer” in all situations. This is why it’s always better to speak to your divorce attorney before deciding to take any action.

Need Legal Advice? Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.!

If you’re divorced and unsure as to what is the right “next” step, contact the team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.! Larry has over 36 years of legal experience and will ensure you take the right steps to get your debts handled and to make sure you only pay what you’re supposed to.

Take advantage of your free, 30-minute consultation by calling Larry at 630-470-9990 or filling out our simple online form to request an appointment time. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you better navigate the divorce process and the issues that accompany it.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.