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1 in 8 Divorces May Be Caused by Student Loans, Study Shows

Financial problems are high on the list of reasons that lead married couples to divorce, but what those financial issues consist of can be different for everyone. According to new studies, for many spouses, those financial strains have a lot to do with student loans.

In a recent survey analysis conducted by Student Loan Hero, an online resource that helps people manage education debt, roughly 13 percent of the 800+ respondents blamed student loan debt as a primary factor for why their marriages ended. That’s equivalent to around 1 in every 8 divorces.

While that figure may seem large, numerous studies in recent years have explored just how great of an impact student loans can have on former students, including those who experience problems with their marriages as a result of financial strains created by their debt load.

As of 2018, nearly 45 million adults in the United States have some type of student loan debt. What’s more, according to statistics from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the average outstanding balance they carry has increased by over 60% from the previous decade to a whopping $34,000. The percentage of student loan borrowers who owe $50,000 or more also tripled during that time.

Student loan debt in the U.S. is now at an all-time high of $1.5 trillion, a figure that’s difficult for many to wrap their heads around. While that figure is raising warranted concerns over the future of the economy and the financial security of a new generation, it is also having a more immediate impact on individuals, their relationships, and their marriages.

As with other forms of debt, student loans can act as roadblocks that not only impact their day-to-day lives and spending habits, but also the big-picture milestones and plans they may have for the future, such as buying a first home or having kids and starting a family. For spouses who don’t carry student loan debt, committing to a relationship where the other partner does have student loans can seem unfair, and can place strain on the relationships, especially when it comes to paying those debts off.

Student Loans & Prenuptial Agreements

While there may be solutions in the future that address the growing financial concerns involving student loans, the fact remains that they are still an issue for many couples. As such, experts advise couples to address their finances unabashedly before getting married, as well as their respective responsibilities for any student loans. One effective way to achieve this is by using a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups” for short, are a type of pre-marital agreement that have earned a reputation for being used by superstars and the very wealthy. However, they’re not just for celebrities. Prenups are a viable legal measure soon-to-be-married spouses can take advantage of to protect their rights and interests when entering into a binding legal union that can have major financial implications.

For example, some of the issues prenups may address include:

  • Terms for property division in the event of a divorce.
  • Designation of certain assets or debts as community or separate property.
  • Terms for alimony (spousal support).

At Moskowitz Law Group, LLC, our divorce attorneys leverage over 50 years of collective experience to help clients protect what matters most to them. This includes assisting clients as they navigate the divorce process, and providing the individualized service they need when drafting prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. If you have questions about your rights when it comes to marriage and divorce in New Jersey or New York, contact us for a FREE consultation.