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How student loans are treated in divorce cases

Texans who divorce will need to divide both their marital assets and their marital debts. Debts that were incurred during the marriage are generally considered to be part of the marital estate and subject to division, regardless of which spouse took out the debt.

One issue that sometimes arises involves student loan debt. When a couple divorces, both spouses may be held to be liable for a portion of the student loan debt. If a person incurred the debt before his or her marriage, it will be treated as that party's separate property and sole responsibility. If the debt was accrued during the marriage, however, the other spouse may be ordered to assume half of it.

Student loan debt is not the only type of obligation that may be divided in divorce cases. All debts that accrued during the marriage will be divided, including mortgages, car loans, personal loans, credit cards and medical bills. People who have accumulated debts both prior to and during their marriages may need to determine which debts will be considered to be separate property and which will be treated as marital debts so that they might make better decisions about how to handle this aspect of a divorce.

Before people get married, they may want to fully disclose all of their debts to their spouses. In order to prevent potential issues later on, people might want to consider drafting prenuptial agreements so that how their current and future debts will be divided in the event of a divorce will be predetermined. Each party should have separate legal representation, and the agreement should be signed well in advance of the wedding date so as to lessen the possibility of a future challenge on the basis that it was signed under duress.

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