Who is responsible for repaying student loans?
New York is known all over the world for its amazing educational offerings and historic institutions. We all know that an education for most includes a very high burden of private and federal student loan debt. The average amount of debt in the United States is currently around $30,000 but anyone who has gone to medical school, law school or for their Ph.D can tell you that it is far more than that. New York is an amazing city but it comes with a high cost of living, high rents, food expenses and coupled with a massive loan payment you may be thinking about what would happen if you were ever to get divorced...Who will be responsible for these student loans in the event of a divorce?
In New York, it will depend on whether the student loan debt was accumulated before the marriage or after the marriage date. Unless there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, New York considers whatever loans were accumulated before the marriage to be separate property. New York is a state that follows the legal theory known as Equitable Distribution. Unless a prenup or postnup to the marriage says otherwise, any debts or assets that are accumulated during the marriage before the separation or divorce are subject to equitable distribution.
Student loans taken out before the marriage by one spouse (unless otherwise agreed in a prenup) remains their responsibility for the duration of that note. Even if one spouse assists the other in making payments (as is often the case) the spouse will assume the full burden and responsibility upon separation or divorce.
What if I took student loans out while I was married?
This is where it gets tricky and you will need the assistance of a New York matrimonial attorney from Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C. You can call us anytime at 888-501-3292 for a free consultation. Under New York law, when one or both spouses obtained higher education degrees during marriage, depending on involvement and level of support, their spouse is entitled to some percentage of their enhanced or increased earning capacity. When the court has to determine how to divide up student loans in a New York divorce, it will examine what the purpose of the loans was, whether it be for tuition, books, housing, food, clothing, etc...
When dividing student loans that are taken out during the course of a marriage, the New York courts consider other factors such as a difference between the ability of the parties to pay off the debt. Think of it this way, if the spouse who did not take out the loans but had regularly been helping out with the payments makes substantially more money than the other spouse, the court may order the higher earning spouse to assist in repaying the loan(s). Every situation is different, and the court will interpret on a case-by-case basis. This is where you need a lawyer who will help you present the facts to best support your position. Contact us today at 888-501-3292 or by e-mail to discuss your unique set of circumstances. We are ready to help you TODAY.