Student Loan Debt in Divorce
The cost of higher education continues to increase, and many people obtain loans to pay for college tuition. Student loans can take decades to repay, and it is not uncommon for people to carry such debt obligations long after they marry. As such, married people often wonder how student loan debt will be divided if they divorce. Determining how to handle student loan debt in divorce can be complicated, and if you or your spouse have debt related to your education and you wish to end your marriage, you should speak to an attorney about your obligations. At McClure Law Group, our skilled Dallas divorce attorneys are proficient at achieving good outcomes in complicated divorce matters, and if you hire us, we can assess the facts of your case and inform you of your options for protecting your interests.Debt Obligations and Property Rights Under Texas Law
Under Texas law, a debt might be the responsibility of both parties to a marriage jointly or one party individually. Generally, if a party independently took on debt prior to the marriage, it will be deemed separate, while if the parties incurred debt together after they were married, it will likely be considered a community debt. This is true regardless of the nature of the debt; in other words, a student loan debt obligation that begins after a couple is married may be considered a community debt.Student Loan Debt in Divorce
The Texas Family Code (the Code) sets forth guidelines for how the courts should handle debts in divorce actions. First, the courts must first determine if a student loan is a community or separate debt. If a student loan debt is deemed separate, the courts will most likely find it to be the sole responsibility of the spouse that incurred it. In other words, the Code states that the separate property of one spouse is not subject to the other spouse’s debts unless a rule of law applies making both spouses liable. If a court determines a student loan is a community debt, it does not have to divide the debt equally. Instead, it must distribute all debts in a manner they determine is fair based on the facts of the case. Often, the student loan debt will be awarded to the spouse incurring the debt, whether or not it is a community debt. However, if the student loan debt is a community debt, the court will take it into consideration when dividing the community estate as a whole (i.e., it will likely impact the division of the rest of the community estate).
Whether community property is subject to student loan debt depends on numerous factors. For example, a community asset that is solely controlled and managed by managed and controlled by a spouse that incurred student loan debt before or during is subject to liabilities for that debt. Conversely, community property that one spouse solely controls and manages is not subject to student loan debts the other spouse incurred before or during the marriage.Speak with a Capable Dallas Attorney
When a marriage ends, the courts will not only divide assets, but debts as well, and it is important for people to understand how the decision to end their marriage may impact their financial obligations. If you want to learn more about how the courts handle student loan debt in divorce, it is advisable to speak with an attorney promptly. The capable Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue the best legal result available under the facts of your case. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available by appointment at our Collin-County office in Plano. We regularly represent parties in divorce cases in Dallas, Garland, Fort Worth, McKinney, Richardson, Frisco, Irving, and Rockwall. We also represent people with family-law matters in cities in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Denton Counties. You can reach us by calling us at 214.692.8200 or via our form online to set up a confidential conference.