On Your Side

Who pays student loans in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2020 | Divorce

As more and more New Jersey residents spend much of their life saddled with student loan debt, you may be wondering how this gets treated in a divorce. When you are going through the process, you will want to know that you can get a fresh start in life without being responsible for paying back your ex-spouse’s debt.

The Rules in New Jersey

The good news for you is that New Jersey is not a community property state. This means that you will most likely not be responsible for paying back your spouse’s student loan debt if it was incurred before you were married. Even the debt that was taken on during the marriage will likely not be your responsibility so long as your name is not on the loan. The only possible complication comes when you have co-signed on the loan. Then, absent a release from your ex- spouse, you could end up being legally responsible in the event of a default.

What You Can Do

It makes sense to get your student loan debt situation under control when you are going through or emerging from a divorce. You can do this in part by taking out a consolidation loan that would lower your interest rates or that can roll out the repayment duration of your loan. You can also see if you qualify for an income-based repayment plan that can lower your monthly payments. Finally, if you are stuck and in a jam, you can always ask for a forbearance from your lender.

Student loans can present some legal issues during the divorce process even if you are not in a community property state. A divorce attorney could let you know what possible problems you can face and may also be able to assist you in negotiating the divorce agreement to reflect the fact that you have high student loan debt to repay.