The Law Offices of James A. Cuddy, LLC

How will student loans be paid after divorce?

Child custody and parenting time are two of the most contentious divorce issues that divorcees may have to deal with. However, dealing with the division of marital debt may be just as complicated and contentious, especially when student loan debt is involved. For instance, if the person initiating divorce recently benefited from having student loans taken out for them by the other spouse, this could raise some significant issues.

Considering that during the recession many spouses went back to school to receive advanced degrees so that they can start on a different career path, or qualify for a higher paying position with their current employer, an increasing number of divorces may involve student loan debt. 

Courts have a broad amount of discretion when assigning responsibility for the payment of marital debt, especially student loan obligations. They will weigh a number of factors, including how much debt is involved, marital assets that have been divided, a spouse’s ability to repay the debt, as well as other factors.

Because of this, it is important for spouses with student loan debts to be informed about how a court ruling may affect how they may pay for their debts, and not simply assume that they will be responsible for them simply because they may make as much as their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Student loans taken out before marriage are commonly considered separate property, while those incurred during the marriage may not be. But the reality is that each case is different, and there may be extenuating factors that may lead a court to rule differently.

The preceding is not legal advice. A conversation with an experienced family law attorney may be helpful in resolving these questions. 

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