If you are in the process of getting a divorce, you know how emotionally and financially taxing the process can be. Doing things like dividing up assets and debts, determining custody, and figuring out how to do it all without losing your cool can be incredibly stressful. If either you or your spouse has student loan debt, it can be even more complex, particularly if that debt was incurred after the marriage.
Student Loans in Divorce
During a divorce, assets and liabilities are split either equitably (according to what is fair, which may not be 50-50) or equally (arbitrarily 50-50). The split depends on whether your state is a community property state, meaning you can expect a 50-50 split, or an equitable distribution state which was the other scenario mentioned earlier.
But while knowing the basic laws of your state is helpful, the real question boils down to when student loan debt was incurred: either pre- or post-marriage.
Pre-Marital Student Debt
Student loan debt does not magically become shared debt or community property once a couple is married. Student loan debt “stays” with the individual who took out the loans if it was incurred before the marriage.
For example, if you went to dental school before you were married, then don’t expect to have your ex-spouse footing half of the bill. He or she will not be responsible for any debt incurred pre-marriage. The only exception is if you had a prenuptial agreement that specified the student loan debt would become a marital debt.
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