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Dividing student loan debt in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2019 | Divorce |

Student loan debt is a major issue for many people in Ohio. The cost of college attendance has gone up dramatically in recent decades, and many reports have covered young people delaying marriage, children or home-buying due to their large student loan burden. Divorce can be a financial challenge for people in any situation; the long-term effects of divorce can linger for years after the practical and romantic issues have been wrapped up. As a result, many people may be concerned about how student loans will be dealt with when property is divided in a divorce.

In many cases, people came into the marriage with their student loan debt already in place. Generally, these debts will be considered separate property in a divorce, and the person who received the education will remain responsible. The situation can be more complex when people take out their student loans after they are already married. Debt accumulated after marriage is often considered shared by both parties, especially if both also received benefits from the additional education. As Ohio is an equitable distribution state, student loan debts acquired after marriage are not necessarily divided equally between the parties.

Several questions are considered when determining to what extent student loans are marital debt. If the loans mainly went to pay for tuition, books and fees, they are more likely to be considered a separate responsibility. However, if they funded the couple’s joint living situation, they are more likely to be considered a marital liability. The earning power of both spouses is also a factor.

When people decide to divorce, they often have many questions about how their finances will be separated, especially after years of marriage. A family law attorney might be able to work with a divorcing spouse to achieve a fair settlement on property division and other issues.


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