Student Loans and Divorce

Student debt

For many Americans, student loan debt represents an enormous burden. There are approximately 45 million Americans who carry over $1.6 trillion in debt, with an average of over $30,000. For people who attend graduate school, law school, or medical school, this debt can be far greater. While these loans are assumed as an investment in education and career aspirations, it is something people carry well into their lives after graduation.

Because student loans are so common, we frequently see the subject arise in the context of divorce. What happens to a student loan when a couple divorces?

When Did the Student Loan Originate?

Nevada is a community property state. When a couple divorces, all property acquired during their marriage belongs equally to each spouse. This means that courts take the value of all marital property and divides the property so that each spouse gets an equal share. In contrast, property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property and stays with its original owner.

The same concept applies to debt. Nevada’s applicable laws provide that a spouse is not liable for debts that the other spouse incurred before their date of marriage. This means that a spouse cannot be ordered to pay the other spouse’s student loan debt that originated before a couple’s marriage, and it also cannot be subtracted from their share of community property.

If student loan debt was incurred during a couple’s marriage, the debt is treated as community debt, which both spouses share equally. Significantly, this does not mean that both spouses will pay half of the loan payments every month after the divorce is finalized. Instead, like other property and debt, the parties and court will work toward a division of property and debt that gives each spouse an equal share of the net value of the marital estate.

Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. provides top quality family law representation to men and women who want to end their marriage in Nevada. Our well-respected attorneys are experienced, proven professionals who effectively advocate for our clients’ interests and relentlessly pursue their best outcomes. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.

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