RPM Law

The responsibility for student loan debt in a divorce situation

A marriage breakdown is emotionally draining, and it can be especially so when it comes to the financial picture. Arizona residents going through a divorce and who have been carrying student loan debt may be wondering if their soon-to-be former spouses may be responsible for helping them to pay those loans since the division of property includes not only assets, but debts. If the student loan was taken out before a person got married, he or she is responsible for paying it; however, if that loan was secured during the marriage, it can become complicated.

Arizona is a community property state which means assets and debts are divided equally, so any loans acquired after marriage are typically split evenly between spouses. There may be some exceptions, however, depending upon the individual situation. If there is some contention regarding a student loan, a family court judge will look at things like whether a marital agreement was in place, any increase in income that came from the education, timing of the divorce in regard to schooling and whether the couple has any significant assets.

Whether a spouse co-signed the loan agreement could also have an impact. A judge may also look at whether part of the loan was used for living expenses shared with a spouse. If all the loan went toward education and its costs, it's likely the person who took out the loan will be solely responsible for paying it back.

When Arizona residents have questions about issues that could impact their divorces -- like student loans -- it may be wise to contact a family law attorney experienced in divorce issues. A lawyer can advocate the specifics of his or her client's case. An attorney can review a client's particular circumstance and may be able to offer insight as to what is the best achievable result.

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