More and more couples are going into marriage with a significant amount of student loan debt, which can take decades to repay. It can impact all areas of life — including marriage. Some couples don’t feel they’re in a financial position to buy a home or have children while they’re still paying off their student loans.
According to a recently-released study by Student Loan Hero, 13 percent of divorced people with student loans blame that debt for ending their marriages. It may not help that, according to an earlier study by the same organization, almost a quarter of respondents admitted that they hadn’t been honest with their partners about their own student loan debt.
However, one family law attorney said that she doesn’t believe student loan debt — on its own — causes divorce. She says, “Usually there’s some relationship stuff that’s going on,” adding that it likely isn’t “the driving factor, but it’s definitely a secondary factor.”
When spouses divorce, how is student loan debt divided? It depends on whether the loans were taken out prior to the marriage or after it. If each partner had their own student loans when they married, they’ll likely leave the marriage still responsible for their student loan debt. If spouses were co-signers on a loan taken out after the marriage, that’s a different matter.
It can be helpful to include language about your student loans in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Whether you did that or not, if you have questions about your or your spouse’s student loan debt as you go through the divorce process, your Arizona family law attorney can provide valuable guidance.