In a divorce, there is plenty of potential for dispute. The first things that may come to mind are child support, child custody and visitation. While these are undoubtedly critical, another concern is property division and how debt might be shared. Student loan debt is a prominent worry across the nation, and many couples could face challenges as they deal with this as part of a divorce.
Understanding the factors that will be considered with dividing student debt in a divorce is imperative. An estimated 45 million people are confronted with paying student loans. Statistically, people getting their first divorce are an average of 30 years old. For people who are relatively young and college-educated, there is a good chance they have accrued student loan debt.
Who has to pay student loans after a divorce?
The responsibility for the student loan may hinge on when the loan was taken out. If it was before the marriage and in one person’s name, that person is responsible for it. If the loan was taken out during the marriage, then it can be more complex.
In general, if a person’s name is on the loan, he or she will be responsible for making the payments, but regardless of how the debt is titled, the court must determine an equitable division. Under certain circumstances, the court may order the spouse to pay a portion of the debt if used for marital purposes. Otherwise, it will be assigned to the party that obtained the education.
If one spouse co-signed for the loan, the payments will likely be shared but the percentage of contribution will be up to the court. To repay the loan, there are possible alternatives including:
- Refinancing it
- Seeking a payment plan based on income
- Requesting a deferment or leniency
Regardless of a person’s age, finances are a primary consideration in any divorce. Understanding how debt division is handled in this situation and others may require legal assistance. Contacting a law firm with experience in family law and divorce can provide much-needed guidance and advice.