Nowadays, it is difficult to start a reliable career without a college
degree at your back, which is why more students than ever before are taking
out student loans to pay for their schooling. Student debt may be considered
commonplace these days, but that does not make the expense any less challenging
for those in the thick of their repayment. As complicated and stressful
as student debt can be, having outstanding educational loans can be even
more difficult when you go through a divorce.
If you are going through a divorce, you might be worried about what will
happen to the student debt you and your spouse paid during your marriage.
In short, some couples do split their student debt after a divorce, but
most student loans remain with the individual who originally applied for
the loan. As with most things, each case is different, which is why you
need to understand how Texas law handles student debt in a divorce.
Divorce & Marital Debt
One of the most challenging aspects of any divorce is the division of marital
property. The possessions, properties, and other keepsakes couples accumulate
during their marriage can be difficult to divide, even in the most amicable
divorces. However, as difficult as it can be to split assets, it can be
even more challenging to determine who will take on marital debts.
Is Student Loan Debt Different?
Although shared debt is subject to division in a divorce, student debt
does not usually fall under this category. The assets that are subject
to division in a divorce are assets that were accumulated during the marriage
or were owned by both spouses, together. Student debt, however, is often
accumulated before couples marry, and is usually used only for the benefit
of one party. In most cases, student debt will be considered separate
property, which means it will remain with that spouse after the divorce
and will not be subject to division.
Student Debt as Community Property
That being said, there are instances where student debt can be considered
community property, in which case it can be subject to division. Most
courts will only consider student debt a form of community property if
the loan was used to benefit both parties. If, for example, the student
loan was used to pay for one spouse’s education, and the other spouse
benefited from the education of their spouse because he or she was then
able to act as the main breadwinner, then both spouses may be found responsible
for the student debt. Or, if the loan was used to pay for materials that
both spouses used, like housing or transportation, then it could be split
between both spouses as community debt.
Are you worried about what will happen to your student debt in your divorce?
Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny today to discuss your divorce case with our Houston family lawyers.