A recent study found that 1 in every 8 divorces, or 13%, is caused largely by issues or disputes related to student loans. While stress about finances is not a new cause of divorces, student loans do appear to be a new cause of stress for divorcing couples.
According to a CNBC article about the study, student loan debt in the United States is now at an astounding high of $1.5 trillion. Per the article, “[t]he average outstanding [student loan] balance is currently $34,144, up 62 percent over the last decade.” Over that same period, the percentage of borrowers who owe $50,000 or greater in student loans has tripled. Given these figures it is likely no surprise that student loans have become an extreme stressor among the couples who face them.
How to Plan for the Impact of Student Loans in Your Marriage
When couples enter a marriage with prior student loan debt, it may be advisable to set some clear guidelines regarding their debt prior to the marriage. Although student loan debt incurred prior to the marriage is a party’s separate debt and responsibility, it is advisable to outline such in a Premarital Agreement or Prenuptial Agreement to make clear who is responsible for what debt.
If one spouse plans to pay down a portion of the other’s prior student loan debt, the couple may also choose to delineate whether that spouse will be entitled to any reimbursement in the case of a divorce, and to make clear that the spouse’s payments are in no way an assumption of the other’s debt.
To speak with a Charlotte divorce lawyer today about a Premarital Agreement, please contact us at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation.