When it comes to marriage vows, “for richer, for poorer” doesn’t always hold true. Financial woes are one of the leading causes of relationship stress and divorce in today’s society. Student loan debt has proven to take a particularly large toll on relationships. More than 44 million Americans are straddled with some form of student loan debt.
Student Loan Hero, a debt management website, recently surveyed 800 divorced adults and reported that 13% of respondents directly blamed student loan debt for ending their marriage. Additionally, 33% of those surveyed reported that educational debt was a major contributing factor to their divorce.
Student loan debt is now at an all time high across the country, climbing to $1.5 trillion. Over the last 10 years, the amount owed by an average American college student has increased 62% to over 34 thousand. Over the same time period, the Consumer Financial Bureau has reported the number of students owing $50,000 or more has tripled.
Student loan debt can be debilitating to newly married couples, impacting their lifestyle, their ability to buy a home, and their timeline to have children. In a previous Student Loan Hero survey from March 2018, 46% or those surveyed stated they delayed starting a family because of student loan debt. Additionally, 36% of respondents admitted to lying to their partner about student loan debt and 25% stated they never told their partner about their outstanding education debt.
Some consider committing to someone with a large amount of student debt to be unfair. In cases of student debt, a prenuptial agreement may be advisable. The agreement should specify that money put towards a spouse’s student loans during marriage would be credited back off the top of marital assets in case of divorce. This specification would insure that if a spouse helps to pay down their partner’s debt, they would be reimbursed if separation occurred.
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Partner at John F. Schutz, P.L.
Representing clients exclusively in family law cases for the past 24 years, Mr. Schutz is widely regarded as a marital and family law expert. He is Board Certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Mr. Schutz is committed to elevating the standards and improving the practice of family law.
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