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Student loan payments may be factored into property division

The cost of college and graduate education has risen significantly over the last few decades. With the rise, there has also been the rise of student loan debt, and the cost of higher education makes it difficult for many individuals to avoid it in order to obtain a degree. When individuals take on student loan debt, they typically expect that it will catapult them into a career that will offer financial security, but that is not always the case. A recent study concluded that student loans are likely the culprit of financial stress that occurs prior to some divorces. In Pennsylvania and other states, division of debt is an important part of property division during divorce proceedings.

A study of 900 divorced adults was conducted by Student Loan Hero.  Thirteen percent indicated that student loans were a significant factor in their past marital issues. Nationally, that debt is now at the highest it has ever been at $1.5 trillion.

Data indicates that more individuals graduate with more than $50,000 in debt than ever before. Whether only one or both individuals in a marriage have student loan debt, couples often find it stressful to begin a marriage with the burden. If the amount is significant, it can limit housing options and/or when to have children.

Because student loan debt is becoming more of a factor in marriages and divorces, family law attorneys in Pennsylvania often encourage couples to consider a prenuptial agreement. The agreement can protect one spouse if a divorce occurs when property division negotiated. The spouse who enters with less debt into a marriage may wish to be reimbursed through the asset division in a divorce if the other spouse was financially assisted to pay down a debt that was brought into the marriage.

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