04 Nov Dividing Student Loan Debt in Divorce
College is expensive these days. That’s something of a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating. Because today, more than ever before in American history, students face such high educational costs that they must finance the majority of college expense through debt. Student loan debt is so high, that it has surpassed credit card and auto debt in the U.S., and ranks second as the highest debt obligation Americans face overall right behind mortgage debt. To find out more about the options you have when it comes to managing what you owe, take a look at this Student Loan Forgiveness Guide to see if you are eligible to have your loan written off altogether. Which has people wondering: what happens to student loan debt during a marriage? How is student loan debt dealt with once a marriage ends?
Student Loan Debt and Marriage
Typically, marriage means a joining of finances, and all kinds of assets and debt obligations can become legally mutual when households are joined in matrimony. But student loan debt is something of an exception: in most cases, the debt you incur through education is yours to keep, individually, for the rest of your life. Actually, student loan debts is infamously inescapable as the only popular form of debt that follows you past the grave: if someone dies with student loan debt, their family is often held responsible for making payments. So in most cases, student loan debt is a personal responsibility, and isn’t something that gets financially shared following a legal union. However, there are options for student loan repayment so you can choose to pay it off in the way that suits you and your spouse.
However, this rule isn’t iron-clad. If student loan debt is incurred during a marriage rather than before one, then the debt is arguably a marital debt.
Florida law provides that student loans which were incurred during the course of the marriage are marital liabilities subject to equitable division (Rogers v. Rogers, 12 So. 3d 288 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009))
The Bottom Line?
If you are in a marriage that is heading south and you are worried that your partner’s student loan debt, which was occurred prior to the marriage, will weigh you down, you probably have nothing to fear. However, if the debt was incurred during the course of the marriage then both husband and wife will be responsible for the debt.