How Is Student Loan Debt Handled During Divorce?
In 2017, the average student loan debt for graduates was over $37,000, which would amount to more than $45,000 when paid over 10 years with an average interest rate. This is a considerable amount of money. Graduate degrees are even more costly; the average student with a graduate degree has over $84,000 in debt, while the average medical school student has an astounding sum of $246,000 of debt. Many spouses may wonder what happens to this debt during divorce. This is a good question, because these debts can have a profound impact on a person’s life after finalizing the divorce process.
When the Loans Were Taken Out Before Marriage
If a student loan was procured before a couple was married, it will not be classified as marital property. Only marital property is divided during divorce. Non-marital property, such as bank accounts, real estate property, and debt, which was acquired before marriage remains the property and responsibility of that individual spouse. This means that if your wife took out $100,000 in law school loans before you were married, that debt will not become your responsibility after divorce.
Student Debt Acquired During Marriage
Everything changes when student loans are acquired during a marriage. However, simply because the debt is considered marital property does not mean that both spouses will be responsible for the debt. Many factors are taken into account when determining how to divide student debt, such as the following questions:
Which spouse profited from the education?
Did the non-debtor contribute to paying for the education or provide assistance in other ways, such as taking care of children while the debtor went to school?
How were the loans used? For example, did they cover housing as well as class fees?
What is the earning capacity of each spouse?
The spouse who went to school may end up being responsible for paying for all of their student loan debt after divorce based on how the above questions are answered. Depending on the circumstances and the decisions made during the divorce process, the other spouse may end up being responsible for paying off the debt as well.
A Wheaton Debt Division Attorney Can Help With Your Divorce
Distributing student loan debt during divorce can be exceedingly complicated. To ensure that your best interests are put at the forefront, you need an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney on your side. Call the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.