Americans' average student loan debt is now nearly $40,000, just $5,000 less than the median individual income. For some students, such as those with graduate degrees in medicine and other highly competitive fields, the cost of an education can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the promise of education and the returns on investment it may bring leads many people to get deeply into student debt, getting out of that debt is not so easy.
For many married couples, their student loan debt may be their most significant liability. And while a couple may have agreed that one spouse would go to school to pursue greater opportunities, when confronted with the prospect of divorce, the other spouse may suddenly be hesitant to share the responsibility of that debt. So what does an Illinois couple do when they are getting divorced with student loans?
Are Student Loans Marital Property in Illinois?
To determine whether both spouses are responsible for paying off student debt, it is necessary to determine whether that debt is marital or personal. If the spouse with the debt accrued all or most of the debt before getting married, the debt will likely remain with that spouse in a divorce.
But if a couple agreed to support each other while one spouse went to school and took out loans to pay for it, that debt will likely be considered marital property, and both spouses will be responsible for paying it off.
How Will a Student Loan Get Split Up?
A court can look at several factors to determine which spouse will end up paying for the student loans. These include, but are not limited to:
Whether both spouses signed on the loans
How the loan money was used (especially in regard to shared cost of living expenses)
The salary or earning potential of each spouse
Whether one spouse worked while the other spouse was in school
Whether one spouse stayed home to raise children
How other assets and debts will be divided
Schedule a Free Consultation with a DuPage County Asset Division Lawyer
Questions of debt are often a contentious and challenging part of a divorce to resolve. If you feel as though your spouse may share some responsibility for helping you pay your student loans, make sure you explore your options with an attorney before agreeing to a divorce settlement. Schedule a consultation with a Wheaton, IL divorce attorney at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today by calling us at 630-871-1002. We may be able to secure a better, more fair debt division on your behalf.