by Jennifer J, Riley
Student loan debt can be a crushing financial burden for many Americans, and it can be even more difficult to manage when you’re going through a divorce. If you and your spouse have student loans, you’re likely wondering how they will be addressed in the divorce.
How Student Loans Are Divided in a Divorce
The way student loans are divided in a divorce depends on many factors. When you schedule a free consultation, please be ready to answer the following questions:
- In whose name are the loans?
- Were the loans taken out (in whole or in part) before or during the marriage?
- Did you or your spouse use the loan proceeds for any purposes other than tuition/books and related expenses?
- What are the outstanding balances of the student loans?
- Did the loan balances increase or decrease during the marriage?
- Did you or your spouse pay any of the balances during the marriage?
Your answer to these questions will help your lawyer inform you whether the loans are considered ‘marital’ and subject to distribution in the divorce.
What to Do If You or Your Spouse Have Student Loans and Are Getting Divorced
If you or your spouse have student loans, schedule a free consultation with an attorney. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights and options.
Divorce can be a difficult time, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are resources available to help you through the process, including financial counseling and legal assistance, and our attorneys can help you along the path.
As a divorce lawyer, I have often read that “divorcing a narcissist is more difficult than being married to one.” I have never heard my clients say that, though! It is not a surprise that many clients report being married to narcissists. Our clients who are married to narcissists are often already receiving psychological counseling before seeing a divorce lawyer. They are protecting their mental health in preparation for the divorce because they know, from painful experience, what might be coming next. Your divorce lawyer is not a psychologist and cannot pretend to be one. They are your advocate and they are in your corner. But, when you are recovering from a marriage to a narcissist, it is advisable to have many professionals in your corner – especially a therapist well trained in the impact of narcissism on partners and the trauma many people report suffering as a result.
There are many resources available to you if you think you are married to a narcissist. First, make sure you tell your divorce lawyer. It will help us know best how to help guide you in the event your narcissistic spouse exhibits some of these behaviors and attempts to sabotage your divorce or attempts to harm you: violence, threats, gaslighting, or blaming you, or any of the other common behaviors we see. Second, please consider psychological counseling, before and during the divorce. This will help you build a strong, supportive team through the divorce process. Finally, take good care of yourself. You will undoubtedly feel pressure to ‘give in’ during the divorce when your narcissist spouse feels the power shift back to you. Do what you know is best for you and for your children. What is “best” for you can only be decided by you, with advice from your divorce lawyer and, if you choose, with some guidance from a therapist. Take time to think about how you want your post-divorce life to look as you regain the power and control to redesign your life, free of the pain associated with being married to a narcissist.
You survived a marriage to a narcissist – you will certainly thrive in the divorce!
I take to the woods when I need a dose of nature to balance life. While I’m a pretty experienced hiker, my friend, Karen, is a much better hiker than I am (read: less afraid of falling down the side of the mountain!) She’s the kind of hiker who sees hawks where I see tree limbs, who can spot animals as soon as she hears the crackling of a branch, and who knows her way back out of the woods (and without whom, I would certainly not).
I am really good at climbing up hills and rocks, but fairly terrible at making my way back down. I feel like there is less ability to balance on the hike back down, and you need to have faith that the rocks and branches will support you.
Karen and I took a new hike recently in Skippack. It was absolutely beautiful and the views overlooking the woods and creek were well worth the climb. However, this meant the path was full of sections where we had to “make our way back down.” By the time we had to hike back down, it had started to rain a bit. The rocks were slick, the leaves were slicker, and I tried to hide my discomfort as we started on our way.
I did not say a word to Karen about my fears. Karen forged the path ahead of us and, once she made it down the rocks first, turned to me with her hand out and offered me support. She did not say a word to me, either — no direction, no judgement; she just held her hand out, offering support when I needed it most.
This is part of what your divorce attorney should do for you. There will be ups and downs along your path. There will be days you feel like you can climb the mountain, and other days when you’re afraid of what the path back down will bring. As your lawyers, our job is to turn to you and offer support — not judgment — when you need it most. You know how to navigate the woods and the path ahead of you. Making your way through this process is hard work. But remember — the best views come after the hardest climbs.