If you got married after completing your college education, the student loan debt you brought into the relationship will most likely still be yours alone if you divorce. However, it’s not always cut and dried how that debt is distributed if you took out student loans while you were married. Any loans you receive after tying the knot in Texas are typically considered marital debt.
Figuring out a plan of action
Everyone’s circumstances are different when their marriages end. An experienced family law attorney can help you find your own best course of action, including these considerations:
- Community property: Texas is one of nine states that consider all marital debt as community property. Both spouses are equally responsible for the repayment of student loans taken out during a marriage, even if only one spouse did the borrowing or attended school.
- Co-signing a loan: If you are a co-signer when your spouse refinances premarital student loan debt, you become equally responsible for its repayment going forward. You can detach yourself from that debt, in some cases, by refinancing again, or going through a lender that offers a co-signer release provision.
- Income-driven repayment: If repayment of a federal student loan is based on income, it’s essential to notify your lender immediately upon your divorce and submit a new income certification. Income-driven plans usually combine both spouses’ earnings to determine monthly payments.
Will a prenuptial work for you?
As the negative stigma formerly attached to prenuptial agreements wears off, many marrying couples welcome the peace of mind they offer. If you have substantial assets (or debts), make certain your prenuptial agreement contains all the legal provisions it should.