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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Who is responsible for student loans in a divorce?

National student loan debt has reached more than $1.2 trillion. With an average loan balance of $29,000, it is no wonder that student debt can become a very contested issue in a divorce. If you and your spouse are splitting up, you may be wondering who will be responsible for paying your student loans after the divorce is final.

It all depends on when you took out the loans. Under Texas law, spouses generally get to keep any property or debt that was acquired before the marriage. This property is known as separate property. So if you took out the student loans before you got married, the loans will be considered your separate property. You will then be responsible for paying those off after the divorce.  

The issue becomes more complicated if you borrowed the student loans during the marriage. Texas is one of the few community property states. This means that any property acquired during a marriage is considered to be marital, or community, property. Upon divorce, the marital property is typically divided equally between the spouses. In other words, it is likely that your student loans will be divided 50/50 between you and your spouse. 

Keep in mind, however, that Texas courts do not always divide marital property evenly. In some cases, a judge may divide the property disproportionately. The judge will consider various factors in making this decision, such as each spouse’s earning capacity, which spouse is the primary caretaker of the children, and whether there are fault grounds for the divorce, such as cruelty or adultery.

 

As this post suggests, each case is different. If you have questions about how property division may play out in your divorce, consider speaking with a experienced family law attorney.

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