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What happens to student loans after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce requires you to decide what to do with the assets and property you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage. In addition to assets, you also have to split your debts. Generally, the debts you acquired during the marriage belong to you and your spouse. However, when it comes to student loans, it may be a more tricky situation.

The court may consider student loans marital or separate property depending on your situation.

When did you obtain your loans?

First, consider when you first obtained a student loan. If you took student loans before marriage, you have complete responsibility for them after the divorce. Even if you had combined income to make payments on the loans, you take on full responsibility once alone. However, if you obtained the student loans during your marriage, you both may be responsible for the loan. If your education benefited both of you and you both spent student loan money on your basic needs, you may have to split the student loan debt.

How did your spouse support your education?

Even if you obtained the loans during the marriage, how your spouse supported the education may alter what he or she owes later. For example, if your spouse took time off work and took care of the household to fund your education, then the court may determine that he or she already paid dues on the student loans and owes nothing.

Negotiating debt can become complex for spouses, particularly after a long marriage. Sometimes, working out the debts outside of the court first can help with the process.