Student loan debt burden can push couples toward divorce

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton |

Younger people in Fullerton are often struggling with a serious burden of student loan debt. Across the country, the average student loan borrower owes $34,144, and people who graduated from university in 2017 have an average burden of $39,400. These numbers don’t tell the whole story; in the last 10 years, the percentage of borrowers who owe more than $50,000 in educational debt has tripled. Many millennials have postponed life goals as a result of debt, particularly student loans, and living life with substantial debt can have a major impact on psychological health and well-being as well as the choices that people make about their jobs, relationships and spending habits.

All of this means that student loan debt can put significant stress on a marriage. While many young people have waited to marry until an older age, those who marry with outstanding student loans have often found that financial conflicts have caused division and even led to divorce. People with outstanding student loans may want to delay milestones like purchasing a home or even having children, leading to conflicts with partners who want to pursue these goals more urgently. In other cases, partners may find out that their priorities for managing money are substantially different.

In one study of student loan borrowers, a significant number of divorced respondents connected the end of their marriage with their educational debt. While 13 percent directly liked their divorce to student loans, a full one-third of respondents said that their loans and other financial issues had led to the split.

Financial incompatibilities can expose deep and irreconcilable differences between a married couple that they are unable to resolve. Divorcing spouses might benefit from working with a family law attorney in order to protect their assets and reach a fair divorce settlement on matters including property division, child custody and spousal support.

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