Married couples in Pennsylvania who have student loan debt may at a higher risk of getting divorced. The average student loan balance has increased 62% over the past decade to $34,000. Furthermore, the number of people who owe more than $50,000 in student loan debts has also increased significantly.
Those who took out loans to go to school will ideally disclose how much they owe prior to getting married. This can make it possible to create a plan for paying the debt as well as a plan for what happens if the marriage were to end. For instance, if one spouse pays a balance owed by the other spouse, that person could be entitled to reimbursement in the event of a divorce. However, this would only be true if a prenuptial or other type of agreement was reached prior to the wedding or prior to the divorce itself.
According to a Student Loan Hero study, roughly 33% of respondents said that disputes over money led to the end of their marriages. About one out of every eight respondents who had been divorced over money said that the disputes were related to student loan debt specifically. Disputes may occur because student loan payments make it difficult to buy a house or reach other milestones in life.
It is possible that an individual may be asked to pay a spouse’s debts in a divorce settlement. In some cases, a spouse with greater financial resources will be asked to pay a larger share of a couple’s joint debts in a divorce. However, a prenuptial agreement might be written to ensure that an individual’s student loan balances are his or her sole responsibility. An attorney may review such an agreement before it executed and prior to a divorce.