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Dividing student loans in a divorce

Divorces can be complicated when Orange County spouses have a lot of marital assets to fight over. What some people forget is that debts can also cause property division disputes as spouses fight over who will be required to pay off or otherwise assume responsibility for their credit cards and mortgage loan. Many divorcing spouses also have student loan debt that will enter into these negotiations.

Because California is a community property state, all marital assets and debts are in general split by a divorce court. Student loan debt will be considered a marital debt if it was incurred after the date of marriage. If one spouse took out a student loan before getting married, it will be considered separate property that will not have to be divided in divorce proceedings.

Some divorcing spouses may have to share responsibility for student loans that were incurred before they were married. If they consolidated their existing student loans after they got married, they made an agreement to share responsibility for the new combined loan, and it is considered to have been incurred on the date of the consolidation, regardless of when the original loans were taken out.

If couples plan ahead, they might want to choose to address these issues in a prenuptial agreement. If no such agreement exists, or if there is a question as to its validity, then the couple might want to attempt to negotiate a property and debt division settlement with the help of their respective family law attorneys. Issues that cannot be resolved through negotiations could possibly be handled through mediation in lieu of having to go to court.

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