It is not unusual for people to take out student loans to finance their college education. However, one’s college years are a time of growth and many in Grand Rapids may find that while they are in college or afterwards, they fall in love and get married. Marriage unites many parts of a person’s life. However, does “what’s mine is yours and yours is mine,” apply to student loans?

In general, student loans taken on while married may be considered the responsibility of both spouses, while student loans taken out prior to the marriage may be the responsibility of the spouse who took out the loan. This distinction becomes especially important if a couple decides to divorce and is in the process of dividing marital debts.

If one spouse co-signed a student loan, both the recipient of the loan and the co-signer are responsible for it, even if their marriage does not last. In addition, Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state. This means marital debts will be divided during a divorce based on what is fair, even if that doesn’t lead to an exact 50-50 split. Courts may consider each party’s income potential, what the loans were spent on, who has been making payments on the loan and who obtained the degree using these loans, among other factors.

It is important to note that the division of debts, like the division of assets, is determined on a case-by-case manner. Thus, this post should not be relied upon as legal advice. Instead, those who have amassed a significant amount in student loans and are now facing divorce should seek the help of a professional who can assist them in the property division process.