Financial concerns have long been atop the list of reasons for why married couples call it quits, but research is finding that a significant part of those concerns may be related to student loans. According to a recent study from Student Loan Hero, which surveyed over 800 divorced adults, roughly 13% blamed student loans specifically as a reason for getting a divorce. That’s roughly one out of every eight divorces.
While the numbers may seem high, there has been ample research and statistics over the years showing how the growing student loan crisis is impacted Americans on a personal level. Today, more than 44 million adults in the U.S. have some type of student loan debt, contributing to a national total of $1.5 trillion. That nearly unfathomable number has been caused not only by rising tuition rates, but also the percentage of students taking out loans, along with other facts such as rising costs of living and stagnant wages. As of 2017, the average college grad carried nearly $40,000 in student loans.
These figures certainly raise concerns when it comes to the financial security of a new generation, as well as economic bubble akin to the housing market crisis. However, they’re also starting to show an impact on marriages. Like other forms of debt, student loans can create barriers that impact spouses’ lifestyles and ability to reach traditional milestones, such as buying a home or having children. It can also create stress and burdens in terms of sharing a responsibility for paying off those debts.
Unfortunately, student loans will likely remain an issue for Americans for the foreseeable future, which is why experts recommend that couples with the intent to marry address their financial concerns up-front prior to entering into a marriage. One way to do this is by considering a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial Agreements & Student Loans
As we discussed in a previous blog post, prenuptial agreements aren’t just reserved for celebrities or the mega wealthy, they’re sensible legal tools couples can take advantage of to protect their interests when entering into a commitment that has major financial implications. These interests might include:
- Traditional assets, such as retirement accounts, investments, and real estate
- Non-traditional assets, such as unique collections or mineral interests
- Family businesses or professional practices
- Debts – including credit card debt and student loans
When it comes to using a prenup as a means to address student loans, spouses can tailor agreements to best fit their unique situations and goals. This may involving specifying how the debt is to be paid during the course of a marriage, or including terms that any funds put toward the debt would be credited back from the marital property upon divorce. The important objective is to find a mutual agreement as to how the student loan debt will be paid, and what will happen in the event the marriage doesn’t work out.
At Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC, our Boca Raton divorce attorneys leverage more than 75 years of collective legal experience to assist clients in a range of divorce and family-law related matters – from premarital agreements and prenups established prior to marriage to divorce, property division, paternity and other family law issues. Because every marriage and divorce case is unique, our legal team understands the importance of addressing our clients’ issues on a personalized basis. This can be especially important in the creation of premarital agreements like prenups, which can be tailored to fit the unique desires, needs, and objectives of both spouses prior to entering into a marriage.
If you have questions about student loans and prenuptial agreements, or would like to understand how student loans may impact your Florida divorce, our legal team is readily available to help. Contact us for an initial consultation!