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The impact of student debt on marriages and divorces

Anyone entering into a marriage in Florida after having completed a college education probably has a lot of student loan debt. If both spouses have significant loan debt, it could become a source of stress during the marriage. A third of the borrowers who responded to a recent study conducted by Student Loan Hero cited college loan debt and other money-related issues as major factors that contributed to their divorces.

Nearly 15 percent of the respondents specifically mentioned student loan debt as the main reason why their marriages ended in divorce. While there are many family law issues that can stress a relationship, financial issues consistently top the list. In regard to student loans, outstanding balances have increased more than 60 percent over the past decade. And the percentage of borrowers owing $50,000 or more in debt tripled within the same period.

More than 40 percent of respondents in another survey reported having fights about money "somewhat often" with their significant others. Nearly a quarter of those questioned opted not to tell their partners about their student debts at all. Eighteen percent of the individuals surveyed felt it was alright to lie about money to their partners. Furthermore, proceeding with a divorce while still owing money for student loans can result in even more debt. The process of ending a marriage can cost anywhere from $12,000 to nearly $20,000. This doesn't include legal fees and additional costs related to alimony or child support payments.

Regardless of why a marriage is ending, a family law attorney can explain legal options and make an effort to fairly divide marital assets and debts. Typically, student loan debt incurred before a marriage remains separate property after a divorce. If both partners co-signed education loans during a marriage, a lawyer may be able to determine which party is primarily responsible for any lingering student loan debt based on who benefited most from the funds.

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