No, debts are automatically considered during property division. You would look at it all as a whole. And to some degree, the most appropriate way to look at it is to incorporate the division of assets because you want to look at the debts and how the assets are divided. Is there enough assets to cover all the debts? If there is then that's great and you can divide what is left over. If not, then you have to assign who is getting what proportion of the debt.
Sean Sullivan is a family lawyer practicing in the Elmhurst, Illinois area at the law offices of Laura M Urbik Kern, specializing in child custody and dissolution in divorce. Visit his website, www.laurakern.com, and Divorce Magazine profile.