Money routinely ranks as one of the top reasons for divorce. A related issue that’s increasingly affecting couples in Texas is student loan debt. While the average college-related debt is about $35,000, the number of borrowers owing $50,000 or more has been on the rise. Since overall college costs have spiked considerably over the past decade, it may not be much of a surprise that a third of borrowers who participated in a recent debt management website study attributed school loans and other financial problems to the end of their marriages.

Nearly 15 percent of respondents specifically cited student loan debt as the primary reason for their divorces. More than 40 percent of married individuals surveyed for another study reported fighting about money “somewhat often.” This reflects the notion that financial stress is sometimes enough of a distraction to affect relationships. The study also revealed that nearly a quarter of borrowers preferred to keep details of their student loan debts from their partners, and almost 20 percent considered it acceptable to lie to their significant others about money-related matters.

In situations where financial issues that include lingering student loan debt can’t be worked out, divorce may actually make debt problems worse. Divorce costs can range from $12,000 to nearly $20,000. This figure may be on the higher end if child support and/or alimony payments are part of the settlement arrangements. Divorced parties with student loan debt could pay as much as $2,000 more in divorce-related costs than their debt-free counterparts.

No matter what contributes to the end of a marriage, a family law attorney can provide assistance with negotiations and other legal processes associated with the divorce. If student loan debt from one or both parties is involved, a lawyer could make an effort to determine if such debt was incurred before or during the marriage and who benefited most from it. Details like this typically affect how college debt factors into divorce arrangements.