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Strategies for Dealing with Educational Debt in Divorce

Posted by Crissy Del Percio | Dec 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

educational debt in divorce

Divorce can be an emotional and financial minefield. When student loan debt comes into the picture, its effects can only compound further. This article investigates the relationship between divorce and student loan debt; providing insights into challenges couples may encounter when managing education debt and potential strategies for managing it effectively, along with legal considerations.


Understanding Marital Debt Vs. Separate Debt
When it comes to student loans taken out during marriage, marital debt, and separate debt must be differentiated clearly. In many jurisdictions, loans taken out before marriage by one spouse may be considered separate while those acquired after marriage may fall under the marital category. This distinction will aid when allocating debt during divorce proceedings.

State-Specific Laws
State laws significantly influence the division of assets and debts between spouses. Some states follow an equitable distribution principle, dividing debts in a fair but non-equal manner, while others distribute marital assets equitably among partners. It's essential to understand your local jurisdiction's laws regarding the equitable division of marital assets and debts.

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements
Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can have a dramatic impact on how student loan debt is dealt with during divorce proceedings. These documents offer essential protections in the event of divorce or separation. Such agreements can serve as guides when it comes to debt distribution. However, their enforceability could be called into question by courts if considered unfair or unconscionable.

Consideration should also be given to any outstanding marital debts
When considering divorce, it's crucial to consider other marital debts like mortgages, credit card bills, and car loans to ensure fair debt allocation. To achieve optimal strategies, it's essential to have a thorough understanding of both partners' finances.

Income-Driven Repayment Plan
Income-driven repayment plans can be an effective strategy for student loans taken out by one spouse. By tailoring monthly payments according to income, income-driven plans can ease the financial strain on those responsible while simultaneously protecting tax implications and other legal ramifications associated with them.

Loan Forgiveness Programs
Research federal student loan forgiveness programs, which may be eligible for certain professions like teaching or public service after qualifying payments over time. Understand eligibility criteria and deadlines when incorporating forgiveness programs into your divorce strategy.

Negotiating the distribution of debt
Divorce negotiations provide spouses with the chance to reach an agreement on student loan debt division, allowing for innovative solutions like balancing debt with marital assets or establishing an equitable division that avoids costly legal battles.

Effect of Student Loan Debt on Spousal Support
Student loan debt should also be taken into account when determining spousal maintenance/alimony. Courts consider both parties' finances when making these determinations, and may order additional maintenance payments if one party is burdened by significant student loan debt.

Credit Implications
Divorce can have serious repercussions for both spouses when cosigning student loans together, even if one spouse is designated as a loan holder in their divorce settlement agreement. Failing to meet payments could affect both parties and be crucial when negotiating settlement agreements for divorce settlements.


To sum up, successfully managing student loans during divorce requires an understanding of both financial and legal considerations. Couples navigating this process must remain open to communication and collaboration while working toward reaching an equitable solution. They can further navigate this intersection between divorce and student loan debt by considering state laws as well as repayment options available to them.

Due to the complexity of student loans and divorce, seeking professional advice is of utmost importance. Meetings with legal and financial experts can offer invaluable insight into managing student loan debt upon separation or divorce. Therefore, if you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Kansas City, contact Drama Free Divorce now at (816) 615-5555. We have a team of legal professionals specializing in divorce-related planning that offer personalized guidance tailored specifically for each couple's unique situation. 

About the Author

Crissy Del Percio

Crissy Del Percio is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Additionally, she received her undergraduate degrees in Journalism (News and Information) and Communication Studies from the world-renowned home of the Jayhawks – the University of Kansas. She has been practicing law for a decade and spent the first part of her career specializing in helping low-income survivors of domestic violence. Now at Drama-Free Divorce, Crissy enjoys helping people consciously uncouple. She is also a Guardian Ad Litem and domestic mediator. Crissy has won a number of prestigious awards for her work in public service, but you likely recognize her from her acting career, where she is also an award-winner. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her egregiously overpriced dog, Augustus Rodham and knitting. 


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