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Will County divorce lawyerStudent loan debt is a serious burden for millions of Americans, with recent statistics showing an average debt of more than $30,000 among borrowers. Often, borrowers take 20 years or longer to fully pay off their loans. With this in mind, there is a good chance that if you are going through a divorce, you, your spouse, or both of you will have outstanding student loan debt. You should be sure to understand how this debt will affect the division of marital property, as well as your financial situation after the divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Debt

One of the most important steps when getting a divorce is to take inventory of all of your assets and debts, as well as all those belonging to your spouse. Each spouse’s non-marital assets and debts will stay with them after the divorce, while marital assets and debts will be distributed fairly between the spouses. The question, then, is whether student loans qualify as non-marital or marital debt.

It is common now for people to wait until after graduating college to get married, meaning that many spouses have taken out student loans before their marriage begins. Student loans incurred before the marriage are an example of non-marital debt. However, if you or your spouse took out student loans during your marriage to further your education, they will most likely be considered marital debt. The fact that the loans financed only one spouse’s education, or that only one spouse signed on the loans, will not change their marital status. If you get divorced later in life after taking out loans in your name to finance your children’s education, these loans will also likely be considered marital debt.

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