When you’re feeling especially angry, perhaps spiteful, it can be a fulfilling pastime to mull over all the different ways you could use divorce to throw a monkey wrench into your former spouse’s future. Student loan debt is an awfully heavy burden for most people who carry it … wouldn’t it be lovely to transfer the burden from your shoulders to your (insert your favored adjective here) ex?
We are sorry to have to report that the answer, mostly, is no. Most frequently, student loan debt belongs to the person who borrowed the money. As with answers to many legal questions, there is a “but” …. In some specific situations, your ex might be on the hook for some or all of your student loans. In other situations, you may be able to maneuver so that he or she gets ordered to pay some of your debt.
- Did you incur all the debt before marriage?
The debts are yours to repay, except in some limited circumstances. If you consolidated the student loan debt with your ex, then the student loan company could go after your ex if you stop paying. If your ex signed other loans with you during the marriage, the student loan company might try to go after your ex if you default.
- Did your ex co-sign any of your student loans?
If so, he or she is on the hook if you stop paying.
- Did the loans pay for education that benefitted the marriage?
In other words, did the degree enable you to get a higher-paying job, thus increasing the marital income bracket? If so, a divorce court judge may rule that the debt is partly your ex’s responsibility.
- Did the loans pay for living expenses while you got an education?
Almost all divorce courts will rule that such debts belong in equal part to both spouses.
Contact Lyons & Associates for Answers to Questions About Assignment of Student Loan Debt in a New Jersey Divorce
Student loan debt is often the biggest financial burden at stake during a divorce. Deciding what to do with it, and how to negotiate, is a critically important question for your financial future. At the Somerville family law firm of Lyons & Associates, we will work with you to resolve your property division questions, including your student loan debt (or your ex’s student loan debt). We bring a high level of personal attention to every case we handle. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.