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What happens to student loans when you get divorced?

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When you got married, you dreamed of building a life together with your spouse. Since divorce wasn't even something you considered, you adopted the "share and share alike" mentality that's common for newly married couples.

Now, however, your marriage has crumbled, and you have been spending some sleepless nights anxiously worrying about what happens to certain things -- like student loans -- after you're divorced.

Well, here's what you should know about student loan debt and divorce in Texas:

Each spouse keeps the loans they had prior to marriage

If you and your spouse met at college and got married after graduation, each of you will likely walk away with your own student loans to handle. Debt acquired before a marriage is considered separate debt -- not marital debt.

Any loans acquired after your marriage will have to be divided

Since Texas is a community property state, any debts you or your spouse acquired after marriage are considered joint debts and have to be divided equally. So, if your spouse decided to go back to school after a few years of marriage to get a master's degree and took out student loans to do it, those loans are half yours after the divorce.

Sometimes the debt can land on your shoulders for other reasons

In many instances, one spouse will co-sign for the other's student loans. If you did that, you're legally bound by that contract -- no matter what the divorce court says. If your spouse fails to pay off their portion of the loan, the creditor can pursue you for payment.

Similarly, it might be unclear if you're obligated to pay off a portion of your spouse's student loans if they existed prior to the marriage, but you refinanced them after the marriage began.

Don't struggle alone with the weight of the questions you have about divorce. Seek experienced legal advice and support as soon as possible.

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Accolades & Achievements

Brandon, Karen, Michael, Megan and Laura Are Proud To Have Achieved The Following Legal Accolades for Exemplary Legal Service.

*Karen Marvel was recognized in Texas Monthly in 2008-2019 as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service)

**Karen Marvel is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization