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What happens with your student loan debt when you divorce?

When many husbands or wives consider divorcing their spouses, they often spend a lot of time thinking about how they’re going to split up the marital home, the cars and other tangible assets. They seldom think about what happens with the debts that they’ve amassed. They should, though. This is especially the case with student loan balances since they can be quite hefty.

Maryland is an equitable distribution state. This means that the family law judge presiding over your divorce case will seek to divide up any assets that you share equally between the two of you when you divorce, as well as divvying up your debts.

If you’re wondering what this means to someone who took out most of their student loans before getting married, then you’re not alone.

Any of the student loan debt that you incurred before walking down the aisle is yours alone to tackle.

Your spouse will generally only be left having to help you pay off any student loan debt that you incurred after you got married to them. There are exceptions to this rule, though.

It does matter how your student loans were spent. If you completed an academic program that aided you in securing a better job, then that debt is deemed to belong to both of you. This is because most jurisdictions’ laws see a spouse’s income as their contribution to the marriage or a joint benefit.

If you were forced to put your career on hold while your ex followed their academic pursuits, this may affect both property division and spousal support discussions. A divorce attorney will ask questions about when the debts were incurred and what your family life was like at the time. Your lawyer will then advise you how to expect property division matters to be resolved in your case.

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