The complicated process of divorce becomes even more complex when one or both parties have student loan debt. The handling of student loans during the divorce process is growing all too common. In North Carolina and across the US, the average age of a first-time divorcee is 30, and approximately 45-million Americans have student loan debt. Student loans taken during a marriage may help an individual establish the credentials needed for a career. But, when the marriage dissolves, who is responsible for those loans? Even when the separation is amicable, parting ways with a spouse requires the assistance of legal oversight.

Pre-marital Student Loans

Each partner is responsible for student loans taken in their name before the marriage. The individual who signed these loans is accountable for the repayment, whether they are divorced or not.

Student Loans Taken After the Wedding

When the couple acquires student loans after the marriage, things can start to be confusing. State laws determine who must take responsibility for these debts after the divorce. In most states, the individual named in the loan is responsible for continuing to make loan payments after the separation. When both parties are named on a student loan, they must decide together how to pay the debt back. Student loans, along with other debt, are reviewed during the divorce. The primary borrower must sign a cosigner release to relieve the other party of all responsibility.

What Now?

Married couples shape their lives together and, in doing so, may support one party in reaching their educational goals or in securing advanced training. The subsequent employment gained by the education may, in turn, help the couple purchase a mutual property. So, is one individual responsible for repaying the student loans, while they must equally split property purchased after achieving the degree or occupational training? Legal guidance can help individuals avoid adding unnecessary complications to an already emotionally stressful situation.

Hiring an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Completing a mutually-beneficial divorce and launching separated lives usually requires the assistance of a family law attorney. An experienced divorce attorney could help the couple address divorce-related legal issues affecting the children and pets, credit card debt, mortgages, belongings, alimony and student loans.