When student loan debt leads to divorce

Many Michigan millennials are struggling under the burden of student loan debt. Overall, only 22 percent of people of their generation are free of debt, and student loans are a major factor in that statistic. Student loan borrowers owe an average of $34,144, and that number is only growing for future generations. In the past 10 years, the percentage of borrowers owing $50,000 or more has tripled. This means that student loan debt and repayment is a major factor in how people handle their money and make decisions about the future.

Of these borrowers, a number have noted that they delayed plans to marry until they could address some of their student loan debt. And for those who have chosen to marry, educational debt can be a factor that leads to divorce. While student loan debt generally belongs only to the individual, the pressures on finances caused by the outstanding burden can have a significant impact on marital decisions. For example, many decide to postpone having a child or buying a house in order to address student debt first. For others, lifestyle changes and restrictions can lead to resentment and conflict.

In one poll of student loan borrowers, a third of those who were divorced said that financial issues, including student loans, contributed to the split. Another 13 percent said that college debt specifically was a major factor in the end of the relationship.

Differences about how to handle money, including styles of spending and plans for the future, can erode a marriage from the inside and reveal fundamental incompatibilities. A family law attorney can work with a spouse who has decided to divorce in order to protect their interests and achieve a fair settlement in terms of property division and other matters.

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