If you are going through a divorce, you are not alone – but sometimes it can feel that way. One of the major components of divorce is the division of marital assets and liabilities, and often these liabilities include student loans. If you and/or your divorcing spouse carry a significant amount of student loan debt, it can play a critical role in your divorce that it is important to consider in greater detail.
Your Student Loans
Student loans are obviously an investment in your education and your future. When you are married, even if only one of you carries a student loan, that debt is affected by your marriage. As a married couple, your cumulative income is considered in your ability to pay back your student loans, and certain kinds of debt relief may not be available to you. For example, Pay As You Earn programs may be off the table. Divorce can change this.
The Division of Debt in a Texas Divorce
In the State of Texas, the division of marital assets and liabilities is based on what the court deems just and right, which basically means what the court considers fair – rather than equal. Often, however, debt will be divided fairly equally between both spouses. This fact can obviously affect your debt load post-divorce. Consider the following examples:
- If you and your spouse both have $10,000 in student loans, you will likely each walk away with that amount.
- If you have $20,000 in student loans and your spouse has no student loans, you will likely each walk away with $10,000 in student loans (the reverse situation applies in exactly the same way).
- If you have $30,000 in student loans and your spouse has $10,000, you will likely both walk away with $20,00 in student loans.
This gives you a general idea of how student loan debt is typically divided in a Texas divorce. It is important to recognize, however, that the court has vast discretion in the matter, and can allocate the debt in whatever manner it sees fit.
Other Kinds of Debt
Obviously, your student loan debt is unlikely to be the only kind of debt you carry as a married couple. This means that your student loans will most likely be offset by other kinds of debt. Generally, all of your debt will be compiled and divided more or less equally. It is important to remember, however, that student loan debt is different than other kinds of debt, including that:
- It is not discharged in bankruptcy.
- It often has lower interest rates.
- There are a variety of programs designed to help make student loan payments more affordable in relation to your income.