Divorce is a challenging process that comes with many complex questions. One of the main concerns that often arises is the question of responsibility for debts incurred during the marriage.
Student loan debt, in particular, is a common obligation that your own spouse might be working to pay off. You may understandably wonder if you will be accountable for a portion of your spouse’s student debt after the dissolution of your marriage.
Indiana is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets do not necessarily undergo a 50/50 split during a divorce. Instead, the court evaluates all assets and aims to divide them fairly, even if not necessarily equally. Indiana divorce law specifies that marital debts are also part of the consideration during division and will be subject to equitable distribution.
Considering the benefits of education
If your spouse acquired their student debt prior to marriage, then the court will likely exclude it from any marital debts. However, your spouse might attempt to assert that you benefitted significantly from their education. If they can prove that their education somehow played a part in increasing your career prospects, for example, the court may be willing to consider the student debt during equitable distribution.
Steps to protect yourself
To protect yourself from potential liability for your spouse’s student debt, you can take steps to establish your financial independence. Keep separate bank accounts, avoid co-signing loans and be cautious about taking on joint debts. Additionally, consider addressing the issue of student loans in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to establish clear guidelines for debt division.
The responsibility for a spouse’s student debt after divorce ultimately depends on various factors the nature of the debt and any existing legal agreements. Remain aware of these factors and take proactive steps to protect your financial interests during the divorce process.