Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Student loans can be an area of contention in some divorces

When you think about the property division process in divorce, you might associate it with splitting up the assets. This is a big part of it, but you also have to address what is going to happen to the debts. For some, student loans are one of the biggest things that they will have to divide.

There isn't a single answer that's always correct regarding student loans. Many variables can impact what happens to student loans during the division of property.

One of the primary factors to consider is whether there is a prenuptial agreement or not. If there is one and the student loans are covered in it, you will follow the provisions in the document. If the student loans aren't included, you have some points to consider.

One factor is when a loan was taken out. If the loan predated the marriage, the spouse who got it is the one who is responsible for it. Loans taken out during the marriage are another matter.

If you were married when the student loan was initiated, you have to look at whose name is on the loan and whose credit was pulled to get the loan approved. If one person's name is the only one on the loan and only their credit was pulled, that person might be solely responsible for the loan. There are some exceptions to this because the issue of who benefitted from the loan might come up. This could mean that both parties are liable for it if the degree that it helped pay for resulted in a big income boost.

Since this is a situation that has so many variables, it is best to find out exactly how the law will apply to your case. This will enable you to make the decisions you feel are in your best interests.

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Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law
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Portland, OR 97232

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