Many Mississippi residents have student loan debt. The presence of a student loan balance could complicate the divorce process. How such a balance is divided in your divorce depends on when the debt was acquired and if your name is on a loan document.
You’re typically responsible for your own student loan debt
As a general rule, you’re required to pay any student loans that you took out before getting married. If your spouse borrowed money to go to school before a marriage occurred, he or she is required to pay that balance. An exception might be made if you agreed to cosign for the loan or otherwise personally guaranteed to pay it back.
Federal loans typically don’t require cosigners
People can typically borrow money for educational purposes from the federal government on their own. Therefore, if your spouse has a federal loan, it is unlikely that you cosigned or otherwise guaranteed to repay it. However, most private loan providers require a cosigner. If you did act as a cosigner on a private student loan, it may be possible to ask for a release.
Strategies for dealing with student loan debt after a divorce
If you’re struggling to repay a student loan, you may be able to defer payments for several months. You may also be able to refinance the loan to get a lower interest rate or other favorable repayment terms. Your former spouse may be able to refinance a loan without the need for a cosigner, which could release you from any potential liability to repay it. Getting your name off of a student loan also likely means that it will no longer appear on your credit report.
If you have questions about how debts are treated in divorce property division, it might be a good idea to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Legal counsel may explain who is responsible for paying off a student loan or other balance that was obtained before or during a marriage.