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How can student loans affect my divorce?

If you are married and are thinking about getting a divorce, or if you are thinking about getting married, then you have a lot to consider. You might be excited about starting your new life, but you might also be afraid about the financial realities of the situation. In today's world, where education is paramount to finding a decent job, many individuals find themselves strapped with student loan debt, which may be one of your primary concerns. So this week we will briefly look at student loans and how they can be affected by marriage and divorce.

First, if you are marrying someone who already has existing student loan debt, then that debt will remain tied to him or her and will not affect you. Even if you marry and your spouse defaults on his or her loans, creditors can only come after assets owned solely by him or her. Additionally, your credit score will not be affected in any way.

On the other hand, student loan debt incurred during the course of your marriage will affect you, even if it was only your spouse who took out the loans. In these instances, if your spouse gets behind on payments, then creditors can seek out your jointly held assets to satisfy the debt. This can affect your financial position, your credit score, and the emotional health of your marriage.

You should also be careful when consolidating your student loan debt with your spouses, particularly if your debts were incurred prior to your marriage. Once you consolidate your debt, then you each become liable for the entire amount. Again, this means if your spouse does not pay his or her portion, then you will be on the hook and your property may be used to satisfy the debt.

Unfortunately, student loans have become a real problem in our society and can play a significant part in divorce proceedings. Therefore, those facing these matters and other divorce legal issues may wish to speak with a competent legal professional who may be able to help.

Source: The Nest, "When I Marry Do I Assume Her School Loans?" David Montoya, accessed on Aug. 9, 2015

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