Student loans are a major burden for many people in Minnesota, especially as the cost of attending university has gone up dramatically across the country. With student loans forming such a significant portion of many people’s debt, they may wonder how their loans will be affected if they divorce. Property division can be a complex process, and the financial impact of a divorce can remain even after the practical and emotional issues of the split have been handled.

If people acquired their student loans before marriage, their debt burden is generally always separate debt. People leave a marriage with the debt with which they entered it. However, the issue can be more complex if people accumulated their student loan debt during the marriage. In some cases, it can be considered marital debt rather than separate debt. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property – and liabilities – are divided equitably during a divorce but not necessarily equally. There are different factors that can determine whether student loan obligations will be considered marital or separate debt.

For example, student loans that covered only tuition and related costs would be likelier to be considered separate debt than if they were used to pay for the couple’s joint living space during that time. In addition, the history of the marriage and the role of the spouse in supporting educational advancement may also be considered when dividing the debt. Of course, if the spouse co-signed a private student loan agreement, he or she remains legally responsible for it.

Student loan debt can be a complex and difficult part of the property division process. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to advocate for a fair settlement on a range of divorce issues, including dividing student loan responsibilities.