Law Articles

What Happens to Student Loans In a Divorce

One of the major looming financial issues facing the country is how to work through the estimated $1.5 trillion of student loan debt on the shoulders of about 43 million Americans.

With that high number spread across 1 out of every 7.2 Americans, many couples have to starkly consider some amount of student loan debt as they enter a union. However, if the marriage is headed towards divorce, the answer isn’t always so straightforward.

How Ohio’s Marital Laws Make a Difference

Ohio law specifies the difference between separate property and marital property, specifically in terms of when it was acquired. However, Ohio is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that courts tend to divide up all assets based on what would be fair.

Legally speaking, however, student loan debt acquired before marriage typically remains the property and responsibility of the person who incurred that debt. This specific instance could change, though, if some of the money was used for living expenses or other mutually shared costs during the course of the marriage. (These costs would need to be proven with paperwork or records.)

Lending Tree does note that even earning potential from a degree, especially if that degree was earned during the marriage, also plays a role in how the burden of the debt would be distributed through a divorce.

Of course, this changes again if a spouse co-signed for the loan as both parties would be responsible for portions of the debt. There are additional considerations based on the specific repayment plan the borrower(s) is/are in too.

If you’re considering a divorce in the West Chester area and there is any amount of student loan debt to consider, call the professional and compassionate divorce attorneys at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC today at (513) 863-6600.