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Student debt often cited in divorce cases

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2018 | Divorce

Higher education costs have risen sharply in Minnesota and around the country in recent years, and student loan debt in the United States has climbed to an all-time high of $1.48 trillion as a result. Figures from the U.S. Federal reserve reveal that students who graduated from college in 2017 will have to repay an average of $39,400, and this debt can have a profound impact on their lives and relationships. When researchers from the debt management website Student Loan hero polled 808 divorced American adults, more than a third said that student loans and other financial problems had contributed to the breakdown of their marriages.

More than one in 10 of the respondents said that student loan debt was the primary reason they divorced. Experts expect this trend to continue unabated in the years ahead as the average outstanding student loan balance has increased by a sobering 62 percent in just 10 years. Equally concerning is that college costs have been rising faster than the rate of inflation since the early 1980s.

Spouses often argue about money when dishonesty or deception has been uncovered. When 1,011 Americans with student loans were questioned about these issues in 2017, 24 percent admitted that they had not told their spouses about their debts and 18 percent said that it was fine to lie to their partners about money.

Emotions often run high during property division discussions when the spouses involved are going through financial difficulties and empathy is in short supply. In these situations, experienced family law attorneys may urge spouses to put their personal differences aside and consider their long-term needs. When resentment runs deep and traditional divorce negotiations are unsuccessful, attorneys may suggest searching for common ground and an amicable compromise through mediation.

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