What to Know About Student Loan Debt and Divorce
Those going through a divorce often stress over their ex’s student loan debt. However, it may be a relief for you to know that if your ex took out the loan before your marriage, he or she will probably be held accountable for the debt following divorce. When loans are taken out during a marriage, the issue gets more complicated; if you find yourself in this scenario, please contact us so that we may assist you in understanding your options.
The legislation in Arizona states that what happens to student loans is up to the discretion of judges, which means that courts decide on the matter relatively inconsistently. Courts examine the following factors while making decisions:
- Debts incurred during marriage are deemed to be communal property and must be appropriately distributed. Typically, division entails distributing debts evenly, but special circumstances will lead to varied results.
- If any agreements regarding student debts were established between spouses during their marriage, they will be reviewed.
- If student loans were designed to benefit both parties, an equitable debt distribution is assumed.
- Student loans are often seen as communal responsibilities if the funds were used to cover living expenses for both parties while one was enrolled in school.
- Student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
- All assumptions must be supported by evidence.
These instances can be tricky since schooling normally helps only one spouse who took out the debt. Regarding student loans, courts analyze the unique facts of each case and make conflicting conclusions. The spouse who withdrew the debt is sometimes declared accountable, sometimes the obligation is shared evenly, and occasionally the division is uneven in the interest of justice. For example, if the marriage benefits from one spouse earning a larger salary after graduation, the court may decide to share debts evenly.
If one spouse makes more than the other after the divorce, the debt may be transferred to them entirely. Courts strive to do what is fair in every case, so while there is no one way for courts to distribute these obligations, they always strive to do so equally. Because fairness is subjective, what each judge considers to be fair varies, yet fairness is often assessed using the aforementioned criteria. In terms of what this implies for you, your divorce, and your student loan, it means that you may be responsible, regardless of who took out the loan.
Is One Spouse a Co-Signer?
After a divorce, if your ex-spouse is a co-signer on your debt (or vice versa), they will still be held accountable for its payments. Some lenders will allow you to get your co-signer off the loan if you can show that you can afford the payments on your own. However, not all lenders will accommodate borrowers going through a divorce.
Start a Dialogue with Your Ex
Before going to court, try to reach an agreement with your ex regarding who would be responsible for the student loan. This is, of course, difficult for some people. However, because both parties face some risk in going to court, it is in both parties best interests to reach an agreement that reduces the risk for each side.
Arizona Family & Divorce Lawyer Near You
Are you experiencing problems determining how to file the mountains of paperwork properly? Or are you concerned that you will not receive the financial outcome that you deserve in court? It is reasonable to feel nervous and overwhelmed. Fortunately, a lawyer will take care of what’s stressing you out. Stewart Law Group will support you at every step, from the beginning phase to the last day in court and the following documentation.
Stewart Law Group has been serving Maricopa County, Pinal County, and all of Arizona since 2004. We have office locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe, and Gilbert so please visit us at the location that is closest to you. Feel free to contact us right away to discuss your legal options.