On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Divorce on Monday, June 24, 2019.

In Missouri and across the United States, divorce is an emotional experience that leaves many spouses feeling lost and confused. From asset protection to child custody issues, divorce can seem overwhelming emotionally and physically. Couples with student loans need to address the issue concerning which spouse bears the legal responsibility for resolving the student loan debt.

A couple may not realize that a student loan debt existing before their marriage does not belong to both spouses. In this case, a judge typically decides that the spouse with the student loan debt is responsible for owing the money. However, complicated legal regulations mean that these general rules are subject to change. For instance, a spouse who owes $200,000 prior to their marriage is usually responsible for paying back the student loan debt. However, debt incurred during a marriage is often considered marital debt. In the case of a marital debt, each spouse must pay off the loan.

In an asset protection issue, the court determines which spouse is responsible for paying back a student loan. If the money resulting from the loan was used for rent, groceries and medical bills, the court may decide that both spouses are accountable for paying back the debt. If the funds were used to pay college tuition fees, books and related educational expenses, the debt may be the responsibility of one spouse.

Another issue is when one spouse earns a substantial income when compared to the spouse who has an outstanding student loan debt. In this case, the court may decide that the high wage earner must pay back the debt for the other spouse. A complex divorce involving a student loan debt may require assistance from an attorney. When a divorce becomes a complicated case involving assets and debts, consulting with a family law attorney may help.