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What is the impact of student debt in divorce?

For many people, student loans have overtaken mortgages as the largest financial burden of their lives. Six-figure debt is not unusual. When it comes to marriage and divorce, it is important to consider the impact of student debt. 

  Timing Is Important 

As a community property state, Texas considers both parties to the marriage liable for any debt taken on during the marriage. If your spouse took out student loans during your marriage, you are equally responsible for that debt. If your spouse already had student debt when you married, whatever debt remains when you get divorced will go with your ex-spouse. 

There is an exception to the rule that debt will remain with the party who took it on before the marriage began. If you cosigned the loan, perhaps as part of a refinance, then you legally accepted responsibility for repaying the debt. 

  Student Debt Paid During the Marriage 

A common concern when it comes to the equitable distribution of assets is that one party has paid more or less of the common expenses during the marriage. Student loans can leave one party unable to contribute equally to expenses like housing, retirement savings, and travel. 

When it comes to dividing those assets in a divorce, the law does not necessarily consider how student debt impacted the situation. A home purchased during the marriage will be considered marital property, subject to equitable distribution, regardless of how it was paid for.

  Discuss Student Loans Before Getting Married 

Student loans are often a driver of prenuptial agreements for couples considering divorce. Married couples considering refinancing options or a return to school should consider a postnuptial agreement to clarify the rights and responsibilities of the parties in the event of a divorce. 

  Disputes Over Money Are Common 

Debt and financial problems are among the most common causes of divorce. Student debt can lead to bitterness and division during a marriage and in divorce. 

Most debt repayment strategies suggest paying off debts in a particular order. The highest interest debt, typically credit card debt, is paid off first, with lower interest rate debt following in order. 

Credit card debt, however, is often shared in a couple while student loan debt can belong to only one party. The choice of how to prioritize debt obligations can easily lead to, or demonstrate, problems with the marriage. 

  Call Our Arlington Family Law Attorneys Today 

If you are considering divorce or you believe your spouse is considering it, you need legal assistance as soon as possible. The attorneys at Schneider Law Firm, P.C. have extensive experience in Texas divorce cases, including those involving student debt. Call 817-799-7125 or send us a message to schedule a consultation with our Arlington, TX, legal team.