Protecting What You Value Most
Student loan debt taking a toll on marriages
by Travers & Travers | Jul 2, 2019 | Divorce
Younger couples tying the knot in Texas often bring more than just mutual love into a marriage. Debts that existed prior to exchanging vows can become a major burden, especially in the early stages of marriages when income is more likely to be limited. One form of debt that can be particularly problematic for younger couples is student loan debt, which was more than $39,000, on average, for 2017 graduates.
According to a study conducted by a website that helps borrowers manage student loan debt, more than a third of the borrowers surveyed attributed to their divorce to college debt and other financial woes. What’s more, 13 percent of divorced respondents specifically blamed student loan debt for the end of their marriage. The data collected by the site also revealed that the average outstanding balance for such debt has spiked by more than 60 percent within a decade.
A different study of more than 1000 borrowers that more than 40 percent of them reported fighting with their partner about money “somewhat often.” Nearly a quarter of respondents also admitted to not telling their significant other about their student loans at all, while 18 percent felt it was alright to lie to their partner about money matters. However, divorce actually produces even more debt for college loan borrowers compared to their debt-free counterparts also ending a marriage. Millennials, in particular, tend to be hit hardest with debt, something 39 percent of them admitted was their top stress source.
When one or both couples have debt as a marriage ends, a divorce attorney may advise the client to consult with a financial advisor or forensic accountant to help identify all available assets and debt responsibilities. This information is often used to negotiate a fair settlement that divides debt obligations among each spouse. It should be noted that lenders and creditors aren’t legally obligated to honor divorce agreements.