When you think about contentious divorce issues, you may consider custody and parenting time as being the toughest problems to resolve. However, dividing marital debt may be just as complicated and arduous as anything dealing with where a child will live. Additionally, California family court judges have a great deal of discretion in how they allocate debt. With this possibility, the responsibility for paying particular debts may not always lie with the person who took out the loan or credit card.
Against this backdrop, an increasing number of divorces are involving student loan debt. This is because many spouses may have returned to school during the last recession to when they could not find suitable employment. Generally speaking, student loans taken out before marriage are commonly considered separate property, while those incurred during the marriage may not be.
Courts consider a number of factors in assigning responsibility for the debt, especially student loan obligations. They include how much debt is involved, a spouse’s ability to repay the debt, as well as other marital assets that have been divided.
Because of this, it is important for spouses with student loan debts to be informed about how a court ruling may affect how they may pay for their debts, and not simply assume that they will be responsible for them simply because they may not make as much as their soon-to-be ex-spouse. A conversation with an experienced family law attorney may be helpful in resolving these questions.
The preceding is not legal advice.