In Arizona, many people going through a divorce end up surprised by the fact that they may be responsible for their spouse’s student loan debts. The state’s laws mean that there is a greater chance of having to pay back someone else’s debt, and people should be aware of that when signing a divorce agreement.
Arizona is a community property state. This means that the debts and assets of each spouse are considered part of the marital estate. Even if the debt was incurred before the marriage, if marital assets mixed with it, the debt can become part of the marital estate that is divided. This makes it more likely that one spouse will end up responsible for the student loan debt of the other.
Student loan debt is increasingly becoming an issue in a divorce as millions of Americans now owe money for their education and the average age of a first divorce is now 30 years of age. People need to be more conscious of the fact that divorce can impact their financial future in many different ways, and student loans are now one of the primary avenues where a divorce can harm someone for years. People should take action now to work with the lender or consolidate their student loan obligations to make repayment more manageable in the future.
When one or both spouses are carrying high levels of student loan debt, the asset division stakes in the divorce are raised. A divorce attorney may try to protect their client to the extent that they can from being saddled with high levels of someone else’s student loan debt. To the extent that someone is forced to take on debt, the attorney might push for a larger percentage of the assets to compensate their client for that.