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What Happens to Student Loans in a Divorce?

Americans collectively owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loan debts. Statistically, this means that 1 out of every 4 adults nationwide are currently part of a college debt repayment plan. The standard federal repayment plan takes at least 10 years to complete, and it’s not uncommon for people with student loan debts to marry and divorce within that same time period. But what happens to student loan debts during a divorce?

Debt division is a vital aspect of the divorce process. Typically, only debts incurred during the marriage are included in the marital estate. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that debt is divided “fairly” and per the will of the court. Fairly, however, does not mean “equally.” The court must evaluate several factors before determining if one spouse’s student loan debts should be part of the distributable marital estate.

The court makes its determination based on the following:

  • Was the debt incurred during the marriage?
  • What was the duration of the marriage?
  • Who benefitted from the student loans?
  • How was the loan money used?
  • What is the earning power of each spouse?
  • Are there any legal pre-existing agreements between the spouses?

Unfortunately, the courts aren’t consistent in their rulings. If you want to secure a beneficial divorce settlement agreement, you’re going to need the services of a skilled and knowledgeable divorce attorney. Your lawyer can represent your best interests in court and fight for a settlement that benefits your personal needs and circumstances.

Prepare for Your Future Today

Contact Wakenight & Associates, P.C. if you require legal representation or have concerns about how student loan debts may impact your divorce settlement. Our Illinois divorce attorneys can help you through this life-changing process and fiercely represent your interests in court.

Contact Wakenight & Associates, P.C. if you require legal guidance. Our firm has offices in Oak Park, Mokena, Joliet, Aurora, Elmhurst, and more!


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Litigation can be complex and even the most amicable of negotiations can go awry. No matter what your case involves, the stakes can be high. If you are dealing with any type of family law issue, then your choice in representation will matter. The team at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. informs you of your options, keeps you involved in the process, and helps you understand your rights. Working with our firm means you will be in the best possible position to make sound, logical decisions that will have a positive impact on your family, your finances, and your future.

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