Am I Responsible For My Spouse’s Student Loans?
There are a multitude of concerns and questions when a marriage comes to an end, and some of the conversations and disputes surround financial responsibilities. For example, it is common for people to wonder if they will be responsible for their spouse’s student loans after a divorce.
To explore the issue of loan responsibility and discuss how asset and debt liability is assessed in Florida, connect with a Tampa family lawyer. Legal counsel can inform you of state laws and review the specifics of your situation.
Separate Debt and Equitable Distribution
In most circumstances, a student loan incurred by one spouse prior to marriage is considered separate debt. So if your spouse agreed to the student loan before the two of you were wed, the responsibility for repayment lies solely with the borrowing spouse. But when it comes to student loans that were acquired during the course of your marriage, things become more complicated.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets and debts are divided fairly when a marriage dissolves. It is important to note that fairly does not necessarily mean equally. All marital debt, including student loans acquired after a marriage date, are considered during the distribution process. It could be possible that you will be responsible, at least in part, for the repayment of your spouse’s loans even if your spouse was the one who received the education.
There are various factors that come into play when determining an equitable distribution of assets and debts. Some key considerations beyond student loans include the following:
- Marital property. Property acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. On the other hand, separate property, such as assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance, generally remain with one spouse.
- Financial contributions. Assessing the financial contributions made by each spouse, including income, property ownership, and support roles are part of determining each spouse’s share of the marital assets and debts.
- Additional circumstances. The needs of each spouse, such as their earning capacity, health, and childcare responsibilities, will also be reviewed, which could include the allocation of student loan responsibility.
There are things you can do to protect your financial future when divorcing. One of the first steps will be compiling all of your financial documents, including ones connected to student loans, such as loan statements, promissory notes, and repayment plan notices, and having a lawyer review these documents.
Negotiate or Litigate
Your Tampa family lawyer will go through a back-and-forth process with your spouse’s attorney until an agreement both you and your spouse are comfortable with can be reached. But in situations where an agreement is too out of reach, litigation could be required in order for there to be an equitable division of assets and debts, including responsibility for student loans.
Is debt responsibility, including your spouse’s student loan, weighing in your mind as you move toward divorce? A skilled Florida family attorney can help you navigate the complexities of equitable distribution. Talk to the legal team at Blair H. Chan, III. Call 813-280-5301 to schedule a consultation.