The average student loan debt for new college graduates in 2017 was nearly $40,000. Unfortunately, those high levels of debt could lead some Kentucky couples to divorce. Research from Student Loan Hero shows that 13 percent of divorcees blame student debt specifically for their splits while more than a third said it was at least partly responsible. Some financial experts are surprised that the numbers aren’t higher as outstanding student loan debt has more than doubled during the past decade.
A previous survey from Student Loan Hero found that nearly half of all married couples fight about money at least somewhat frequently. For some partners, however, nondisclosure is their preferred way to handle such issues. Nearly a quarter of student debt holders in marriages did not tell their spouses about debt, and a somewhat smaller percentage said that it’s okay to lie to a partner about money.
Unfortunately, couples who divorce due to student debt often find themselves in a worse financial situation. That’s partly because the average cost of divorce is between $12,500 to $19,000. Millennials in particular are likely to suffer from this the most as they have the largest amount of student debt coupled with low wage growth and exploding housing costs.
When going through a divorce, a spouse has the right to seek support and advice from an attorney. For most federal student loans, the debt stays in the borrower’s name no matter how their marital status changes. In situations where one party cosigns for a spouse’s private student loan, figuring out how to arrange the debt can be tricky. It’s the responsibility of a lawyer to protect a client’s financial interests when deciding how to split up assets and liabilities.