Trying to divide assets and debts when it comes to divorce can be extremely stressful. When you add in student loan debt, things can get even more confusing and complicated.
Many people do not realize that student loan debt that was acquired during the marriage may not necessarily be classified as separate property, even if it is only linked to one individual’s education or degree. South Carolina – like a number of other states – looks at marital debt based on equitable distribution. In other words, unless something is considered separate property, assets and debts are split based on what is fair. Although the courts will look at everything on a case-by-case basis, below are some factors that they will take into account when comes to addressing student loan debt:
How the Money Was Used
For example, if all of your student loans were put towards your education, that’s one thing, but if some of the student loans taken out during the marriage were used to cover living expenses for both you and your spouse, then it could be considered shared, and your ex could be responsible for some of it.
What Role Did Your Spouse Play
For example, if some of those loans were used for living expenses and yet your spouse played a supportive role and took care of the home while you received your education, the court may decide that they have already paid their dues.
What Kind of Earning Power Do You and Your Spouse Have Now?
For example, if your spouse is now making very little compared to you, the courts may not hold them responsible for much of the debt.
Did You Receive a Degree?
In some circumstances, a degree is considered marital property, in which case, debt incurred while earning the degree can be considered marital debt that is both of your responsibilities.
Whether Your Spouse Co Signed Any Student Loans
If they did, then, legally, they are responsible for a portion of those loans.
Other factors that the courts might consider include whether you as a couple benefited from any tax deductions related to the student loans, how the decision was made to take out the loans, and/or whether the marriage benefitted from the loans in any other way.
Contact Our South Carolina Family Law Attorneys With Any Questions
The best thing you can do when it comes to figuring out what is and is not your and your spouse’s responsibility is to speak with an experienced divorce attorney. This individual can also likely help connect you with student loan experts. Contact our experienced Greenville South Carolina family law attorneys today to find out how we can provide you with the very best in family law guidance.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.