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Will I have to pay back my spouse’s student loans after divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Divorce |

When going through the property division process in a California divorce, you can’t overlook the role that marital debts play. Because California is a community property state, in most instances, you and your spouse will split those debts, but that might leave you on edge when you’re talking about your spouse’s massive student loan debt. Are you going to be on the hook for paying back their loans?

How student loans are handled in a California divorce

Generally, student loan debts acquired before marriage are considered individually held and will not be split amongst the spouses upon divorce. And even when that debt is accumulated during marriage, the courts often consider it to be an individually held debt because the education will benefit the recipient far into the future, more so than it’ll benefit the other spouse.

Yet, you might end up responsible for a portion of your spouse’s student loan debt in some circumstances. This includes when:

  • You substantially benefited from the education, especially when that education was obtained several years before the divorce petition was filed.
  • The education received by your spouse is offset by any education that you received and that was supported by martial assets.
  • The education your spouse received reduces their need for alimony.

The court has a lot of discretion when it comes to dividing marital debts, including student loans. And the matter can be much more complicated than you expect. That’s why you have to be prepared with strong legal arguments to protect yourself from unwarranted debt.

Don’t lose out on your California divorce

The outcome of your property and debt division can have a profound impact on your financial stability for a long time to come. With that in mind, take the time needed to craft a compelling legal strategy aimed at protecting your interests. Hopefully then you can successfully move onto the next chapter of your life with the financial stability you deserve.


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