Student loans have surprising family law repercussions

| Jul 31, 2018 | Family Law |

Recent high school graduates about to head into their first year of college are probably acutely aware of just how much debt they are taking on. Without student loans, a college education is out of reach for the average Michigan student. While most understand that they will carry these loans for years or even decades after graduation, few may realize the impact this debt could have on their future family law needs.

A recent survey of over 800 divorced adults revealed that 13 percent of people say their student loans ended their marriages. That translates to about one in eight divorces. While financial stress is a known factor in divorces, most people did not realize how significantly stressful student loans can be for marriage.

The average student loan borrower owes about $34,144, with the national debt currently standing at $1.5 trillion — a record high. This average shot up 62 percent in the past 10 years. Couples starting out their marriage with one or both carrying this type of debt face issues that other couples do not. Weighed down by student loans, these couples often struggle to take the big life steps expected in marriage, such as having children or buying a home.

In family law, prenuptial agreements are often framed as necessary for protecting a person’s property, but they are also important for shielding against a spouse’s debt. Couples who are ready to say “I do” may want to consider creating a prenup that addresses their student loan repayments. By carefully outlining that any money paid toward one person’s debt over the course of the marriage must be credited back during property division, young people in Michigan can feel financially secure in their decision to marry.

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