What Happens to Student Loan Debt in a Divorce?

Student loan debt is a fast rising form of debt encumbrance in the United States, and has reportedly risen to over $1 trillion in recent years. But while many other forms of debt generally become shared among both parties after a marriage, as do assets, student loan debt generally does not become shared.

When a person takes out student loans before getting married, this debt does not generally become shared among both partners upon marriage, unless so specified by an outside contract or agreement. As such, in the case of a divorce, the partner who entered the marriage with student loan debt generally leaves the marriage with their student loan debt, and will not be able to obligate their ex-partner to share the burden.

When student loan debt is incurred in a marriage, it can be more difficult to determine whether or not the debt will be shared as a result of divorce, and just how much each partner will be responsible to pay. This is because student loan proceeds may have been used to help cover the daily expenses of the couple, and one partner in the marriage may have become better prepared to earn a living as a result of the education they received by taking the student loans.

Generally such situations will be decided on a case by case basis, and such factors as whether community-property, equitable-distribution, or marital-property guidelines apply will come into play. Also, the judge will likely consider the overall expenses incurred in pursuit of the degree, and if one partner played a significant supporting role in helping the other partner in the pursuit the degree, such as driving them to college, taking care of children, cooking, etc.

Do you have student loan debt? Wondering how that will affect your divorce case? Our lead New York City divorce attorney can help you determine what will be considered community assets and debts and what is separate assets and debts. We will proudly assist you with divorce issues including property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Call us today to discuss the details of your case. We offer a free and confidential initial consultation; contact H. Benjamin Perez & Associates, P.C. now.