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Illinois Divorce: How is Student Loan Debt Divided?

In recent years, student loan debt has become a serious issue in the United States. According to a recent report cited by CNBC, 44 million Americans currently owe student loan debt. With the cost of education rising and more people going back to school later in life, the division of student loan debt is an increasingly central area of concern in many in Illinois divorces.

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois divorce lawyers have extensive experience handling division of debt in divorce cases. Here, we explain the most important things that you need to know about how student loan debt is divided during a marital separation in Illinois.

Understanding the Equitable Distribution Standard

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. In Illinois, marital assets and liabilities are divided in a manner that is deemed to be ‘fair’ to both parties. This does not mean that there will always be a 50-50 split. In some cases, a fair division of property/debts will be an uneven distribution.

What exactly does this mean for your student loans?

It means that your student loans and your spouse’s student loans will be divided during your divorce if that debt is deemed to be ‘marital’ debt. If it is considered to be separate debt, then the student loans will be set aside, and they will be the sole responsibility of the party who incurred them. However, student loans that are marital debt may be the financial responsibility of each party.

Does My Student Loan Debt Qualify as Marital Debt?

The key question in a student loan debt divorce case is simple: is the student loan debt marital debt? This may be a straightforward question, but it does not always have an easy answer. There are many different factors that will need to be considered when assessing student loan debt. Some of the specific questions that must be answered include:

● When was the student loan debt incurred? Debt incurred prior to the marriage may be individual debt, whereas student loan debt incurred during the marriage is often considered to be marital debt.

● Was a prenup signed? Couples may seek to protect themselves from pre-existing debt through the use of a prenuptial agreement.

● Did the educational advancement help bring money to the marriage? If the student loan helped a person obtain a higher salary, that may be considered during property/debt division. For example, if a doctor brought in a lot of income to the marriage, but they also have high student loan debt, an Illinois court may consider that debt to be marital debt since it directly benefited the marriage as a whole.

Divorce cases involving student loans are complicated. If you are getting divorced and you or your partner has a considerable amount of student loans, it is imperative that you seek personalized assistance from an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer.

Get Help from Our Illinois Divorce Lawyers Today

At Keller Legal Services, we are committed advocates for our clients. Our Illinois divorce attorneys have deep experience handling disputes related to marital debt, including student loan debt. To find out more about what we can do for you, please call us today at (630) 868-3093 to get your fully confidential family law consultation. With offices in Wheaton and Aurora, we represent clients throughout Northern Illinois.