Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.

Determining who’s responsible for student debt in a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2020 | blog, divorce | 0 comments

Kentucky residents with student loans have probably been paying close attention to the news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal student loan holders have recently received several breaks, such as a temporary halt on interest accrual. Notwithstanding this sliver of good news, individuals continue to be on the hook for their entire debt — and possibly the debt of their spouses.

Responsibility for student debt repayment after separation

If you incurred student loan debt before marriage, your spouse will not be liable for any part of the debt following a divorce. One exception to that is if you and your partner consolidated your federal student loan debt into one loan during the marriage, which couples were permitted to do up through 2006.

Factors to consider before co-signing a student loan

It’s a different matter altogether if a person took out student loan debt while married. If two spouses co-signed a student loan during the marriage — which is more often the case when someone takes out a private loan as opposed to a federal student loan — then it will be both spouses’ responsibility to pay it back the loan following a divorce. In a community property state, debt belonging to both parties would be divided equally. However, in Kentucky, which is an equitable distribution state, a judge could find that a 50-50 split is not fair to one spouse or the other.

Getting guidance on marital debt and assets when seeking a divorce

Though there are some options for individuals to seek relief from hefty student loan payments, they are typically only available to government loans, not to loans that have been refinanced with a private bank. Student loans are just one form of debt to consider when getting a divorce. If you’re considering a divorce, you may want to speak with a Kentucky family law attorney who could be of assistance in valuating debt and assets.


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Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.