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Make it absolutely clear who owns student loan debt with a prenup

It is no surprise that more and more students are graduating from college with considerable student loan debt. The news has been filled with talk of young people being overwhelmed by debt that some may never be able to pay off. That has not stopped some young people in Pittsburgh from nearly doubling their debt by getting married. Though it is not exactly fair to say that they have doubled their debt by taking on a spouse's student loan debt, as they now have approximately double the income, it can still be a scarey prospect.

Before these would-be spouses get married, however, it may be important to sit down and create a prenuptial agreement that explicitly says who will own what debt in the case of a divorce. Though it may not be the most romantic way to start a marriage, it does provide a sense of security to both individuals about how their debts will be divided.

Let's say, for example, that a woman was able to work hard in high school, college and graduate school and, through a combination of scholarships, grants and summer work, was able to graduate with only $10,000 worth of student loans. Her future husband, however, was not so lucky and graduated with nearly $50,000 worth of debt. Should they divorce, the woman most certainly would not want to pay half of her husband's debt, so writing a prenuptial agreement may be in order.

Though the majority of divorces see each individual paying for his or her own individual student loans, that is not always the case. By having a prenuptial agreement in place, there will be no question as to who will pay what following a divorce.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Who is Responsible for the Student Loans After Divorce?" Charlie Wells, April 13, 2014

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