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Student Loans: Are the Debts Divided at Divorce?

When you choose to split from a spouse, you have to deal with property division. This is when the court will go through all of your shared assets and divide them in a way that is most fair. In most states, this equitable distribution also involves dividing debts. When your spouse has racked up a hefty credit card debt, or something else in a shared account, then chances are that you will have to split the debt and pay your share. This can make many ex-spouses angry and irritated. Depending on which state you live in and when your spouse went to school, you may have to take on your spouse’s school debt as well.

There are ten states which uphold community property laws. This means that all debts that are incurred from the start of the marriage to separation date are the property of both spouses. This means that if your husband when to medical school and incurred student loans after you were married, you will need to divide and pay the debt. If your husband already graduated from medical school when you got married, then the loans are solely his responsibility. The courts typically split student loans directly down the middle in these states.

New York is not a community property state, which means that we operate on the law of separate property in divorces. This means that any debt that is owned by you and your spouse will be divided. Personal debt will be left alone. This means that if your spouse is responsible for his or her student loans then you don’t need to repay them. If you co-signed on the loan it may affect your responsibility.

Any debts incurred outside of marriage will probably not affect you. You will want to secure compensation for funds you contributed to that were not your responsibility. For example, if you paid a significant portion of your loved one’s student loans even though it was not your responsibility, you may be able to obtain that money again. Contact a family lawyer for more information about debt distribution and student loan responsibilities as an ex-spouse!