Which spouse pays off student loan debt after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2021 | Divorce

One of the toughest aspects of a divorce that you’ll have to deal with is the financial shift it causes. 

It can be challenging envisioning having to take on all your household’s bills. You might be able to secure alimony, child support and negotiate a property division settlement that helps make these would-be financial challenges seem a bit more attainable.

One sizable debt that divorcing spouses often inquire about during such discussions is student loans. Understandably, you’d want to know who’s responsible for repaying student loans, especially when you have to assume so many other bills in the wake of your split. 

What does it mean to be an equitable distribution state?

Florida follows the equitable distribution doctrine when dividing marital property in a divorce. Judges will aim for the property division settlement that provides for a fair distribution of debts and assets instead of one that splits assets and debts down the middle.

How do judges decide on student loan debt?

Whether the student loans belong to both you and your spouse or are in only one person’s name, the court may have questions that need to be answered before the debt can be divided. These questions may include:

  • When did you take out your student loans (before or after your marriage)?
  • Is the outstanding student loan balance just for schooling for one of you or both?
  • Did one spouse support the other while they were in school?

Generally speaking, loans taken before marriage belong solely to that party, while loans taken after marriage may have to be divided. The court will aim to make the division as equitable as possible.

How to tackle property division matters as you divorce

Situations exist in which you may have found yourself having to leave behind your career to relocate so your spouse could pursue their advanced education. You two might have also had to work more than you otherwise would have to make up for the lost income while your spouse was in school. These are two examples of situations that may warrant you negotiating an alternate settlement in your case.