Student loans commonly help people pay for higher education degrees including undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The process of repaying these debts may take many years. During this time, a person might get married and even get divorced.
When a divorce happens, student loan debt held by one or both spouses may remain separate assets or end up as shared debt by both parties.
Marriage date relative to loan date
U.S. News and World Report explains that one factor contributing to whether one or both spouses must assume responsibility for student loan date essentially relates to the calendar. Debt incurred prior to the wedding date may more likely result in one spouse assuming liability after the divorce. On the other hand, when one spouse takes out student loans after getting married, both parties may need to repay that debt.
Use of the funds from a student loan
Not every dollar from a student loan goes directly to a college or university. Some students use money from their educational loans to support themselves while attending school. This means loan money may pay rent, groceries and other basic living expenses.
According to Student Loan Hero, the use of student loan funds for these living expenses may direct a judge to declare the debt shared when the money also provided a home and food for the spouse of the student.
The non-student spouse’s role
In a marriage where one spouse pursues an educational and career goal, the other person may provide primary financial and household support for the couple and family. This may entail cleaning, cooking, driving, childcare and more. In these situations, a judge might believe the non-student already satisfied any responsibility for the student loan debt, resulting in the student assuming full responsibility to repay the loans.