Splitting student loan debt when a marriage ends

If debts are acquired before a person gets married, those debts are generally considered to be separate property. However, if debts are acquired after a marriage, both parties to the relationship could be responsible for paying some or all of those balances. In Texas, debts are considered community property, which means that they are divided equally in a divorce. Therefore, if one spouse takes out a student loan after the marriage is official, the other may be responsible for helping to pay it off.

In most other states, courts will look at a variety of factors in determining how to handle student loan debt. If the other spouse took care of the house or otherwise made it easier for the other to focus on school, he or she may not be liable for any future payments. The same could be true of those who don't make a lot of money or who didn't work while their spouse was in school.

Spouses who cosign for a student loan could be responsible for that debt until the loan is paid off. If the primary borrower fails to make payments, the cosigner would likely be obligated to make them on that person's behalf. Flexible payment options may be available after a divorce to help an individual stay current on the loans.

Generally speaking, marital property can be anything that was acquired while a couple was married. This may include furniture, money in a bank account or the increased value of an asset such as a home or business. Couples may choose to create their own agreements that may label certain assets or debts as separate property. Those who enter into such agreements could benefit by having their respective attorneys review them to determine if they can be enforced in the future.

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