Identifying sole or shared debt during a divorce

Dividing marital property and assets during a divorce is often one of the most challenges part of any divorce. Many a Houston couple has seen their divorce process extended due to difficulties in reaching appropriate settlements. One factor that can make the division of property hard is that it is not only assets but also debts that must be identified and split. At times, knowing whether to apportion a given asset or debt as sole or marital property is not always so clear.

Student loans, especially those that were incurred in full during the duration of the marriage, are one such debt that may or may not be considered shared marital debt. Texas is a community property state and therefore all debt and asset is to be split evenly but that alone does not identify if such loans would be the responsibility of only one or both spouses. There are several factors which may affect the ultimate decision in the eye of the law.

If money from student loans was used directly and solely for educational expenses, it may be more likely to be considered separate but if it was used to pay living expenses for the couple, it may more likely be considered a marital debt. Other considerations that affect the final determination include tax implications, whether or not the degree led to financial gains for only one person or both, whether or not a degree was actually obtained and what the earning potential of each spouse is.

Divorce legal issues such as debit distribution, child support, alimony and more can make the end of a marriage even harder than the emotional aspects alone. Working with a trusted lawyer may help to give a fresh perspective when making important decisions during a divorce.

Source: Forbes, “Are Student Loans Incurred During The Marriage Considered Marital Debt?,” Jeff Landers, December 17, 2013

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