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Mowery Youell & Galeano, LTD. Attorneys at Law
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Student loans: what's mine isn't always your in an Ohio divorce

No matter who a couple is or what their circumstances are, when the pair wants to legally obtain a divorce in Ohio, property division must be discussed. What decisions are made during that discussion differ based on the property itself, the individual couple’s situation or whether or not a prenuptial agreement is in play, which is precisely why each spouse should consult with a divorce attorney.

While the property settlement in one divorce may look very different than the next, there are some general rules to how certain assets or liabilities are treated. We recently wrote about marital debt in the context of a contract with a lender. Today, we’ll focus on a particular kind of debt that affects many couples in Columbus. That is student loan debt.

On the most basic level, there are two types of student loan debts. There are those that are brought into the marriage and those that are incurred during the marriage.

What is particularly unique about loan debt is that the major benefit, the education, belongs to the individual and can’t ever be taken away. Student loan debt brought into the marriage also isn’t taken away. Under most circumstances, the debt is considered separate debt.

What about the educational money that is borrowed during the marriage? This is where it becomes more complicated and jurisdiction really matters.

Debts incurred during the marriage are generally considered part of the marital estate. A spouse that has to pay off their student loan debts could be compensated through temporary spousal support. Those that kept the home while the other spouse earned a degree they get to take with them may also be compensated during the process. Maybe the debt is split? Does it matter whether it was federal debt or private loans that were simply used for education?

Discussing how student loans or any other debt may be handled during property division in Columbus is exactly why couples should seek the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Who Is Responsible for the Student Loans After Divorce?” Charlie Wells, April 13, 2014

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