While marriage is about love and commitment, there are also legal factors to consider before taking part in this union. For those already married and considering divorce, the legal ramifications of this separation take center stage.

Whether you are thinking of tying the knot or facing divorce, student debt is an important issue for couples to address.

For Those Considering Marriage

Whether you’ve been with your significant other for years or are jumping right in, marriage changes a relationship, especially when it comes to finances.

How much debt can you handle as a couple? Will you take on their $50,000 in student debt? Will they take on yours?

The answer may depend on what type of student loans you have. For example, federal student loans have a stipulation that your loans will die with you, a term called death discharge. This means that even if you get married, should something happen to you, your spouse will not be held responsible for your debt. However, this is not always the case for private student loans.

Also, your partner’s debt may impact future loans you take out as a couple, such as a mortgage. Your debt-to-income ratio becomes combined when applying for loans together.

For Those Facing Divorce

Divorce is never a pleasant ordeal. The emotional turmoil is enough stress by itself, but added to that is the weight of legal matters. One legality that is important to understand is what happens to student loans during a divorce.

If you took out the student loans prior to marriage, that debt will still be considered your individual responsibility. This means that during a divorce, whatever student loan debt you entered the marriage with is yours to keep, and whatever was your spouse’s prior to marriage is theirs to keep as well.

However, if you went back to school while you were married and took out student loans, things get more complex. Each state handles divorce independently, which means different rulings take effect depending on where you live.

Student loans that were taken out during marriage are considered joint property, but how that debt is split up during divorce is dependent upon how your state handles property distribution. In some states, everything is split 50/50, period.

In other states, they will consider each person’s earning power, how the student loans were utilized, and other details to determine who is responsible for how much of the debt.

The Ultimate Goal: Paying Off Debt

Whether you’re facing marriage or divorce, your number one goal is to get rid of student loan debt as quickly as possible.

IonTuition offers a family benefit, so all members in your household can create their own accounts.  Browse our website today to learn more about the unique student loan assistance program we provide.