Who’s Responsible for Student Loans After a Divorce?

Who's Responsible for Student Loans After a Divorce?

For many people, student loans are the biggest expense they’ll incur, short of buying a home. The average college-educated person has $30,000 in debt, and people who go to grad school often incur far more. Who’s responsible for these loans after you get divorced?

Student loans before marriage

If you or your spouse took out student loans before marriage, they are typically considered separate debt. That is, even if your spouse helped you repay them during marriage, the debt is yours and yours alone. After your divorce, you will be responsible for the full payment—but you may be able to negotiate a better payment plan according to your new finances.

The main exception is if you agreed otherwise in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement to share or exclusively take on the debt. This is more common in marriages where one spouse comes from wealth or has higher earning power than the other. If so, both parties are generally bound by the terms for the duration of the agreement.

Student loans after marriage

On the other hand, if your student loans were acquired after marriage, both of you are legally on the hook for the debt. Of course, your mediator can help you come to a reasonable agreement. If you can’t come to a consensus, however, you may need to continue paying your share of the loans until they’re paid off.

If you’re particularly concerned about student loan debt and its effect on your divorce, please consult with your own attorney about your rights, obligations and potential options.

When you need help working through your divorce, talk to the seasoned Long Island divorce mediators at Solutions Divorce Mediation.

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