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Your Spouse’s Gambling Debt Can Affect Your Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerLike most behaviors, gambling is usually done in moderation. Most Hoosiers who enjoy Illinois casinos only do so from time to time and do not allow this pastime to interfere with their marital finances. Unfortunately, for some people gambling is a compulsive behavior that can drain a couple’s finances and put them at risk of losing their retirement and home, and even bankruptcy.

Spouses with a gambling addiction will often try to hide their problem and resort to taking out loans without their spouse’s permission. Credit card debt, home equity loans, and more can be used to secure funds for gambling. If you are divorcing a spouse who has a gambling problem and he or she has racked up substantial debt in the process, you are probably wondering what will happen during the marital debt division process.

Equitable Division

Many states are community property states, meaning all assets and debt are divided 50/50 in a divorce. Illinois, however, is an equitable division state. This means that assets and debt are allocated fairly, rather than equally. If one spouse has a problem with gambling and has incurred significant debt, judges will try to ensure that the spouse who spent the money ends up with the responsibility of repaying the debt.

It is important to note that it makes a difference whether the non-gambling spouse knew about the gambling. If the non-gambling spouse knew and did not object, the amount of lost money they can recover may be reduced.

Financial Restraining Orders

Spouses may intentionally try to drain their savings during divorce by gambling. Called marital asset dissipation, this is a common but ill-advised strategy to “get back” at a spouse, because it usually backfires. Whatever the reason for the gambling, the non-gambling spouse will likely want to stop the behavior from continuing or getting worse; once they have filed for divorce, they can file for a financial restraining order. A financial restraining order is a court order requiring a spouse to stop spending marital assets.

Unfortunately, a financial restraining order cannot keep casinos from letting in someone who is intent on gambling. But they can provide evidence that a gambling problem exists, allow the gambling spouse to be held in contempt of court for violating the court order, and make it more likely that the non-gambling spouse will not be held responsible for the debt.

Call a Naperville, IL Marital Debt Division Lawyer

Divorcing a spouse with a serious gambling addiction can be a confusing and frustrating affair. At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we understand how important it is to look out for your long-term financial interests during divorce. Our experienced Naperville, IL marital debt division lawyers will work with your unique circumstances to craft a plan that positions you for a favorable outcome. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 630-352-2240.



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