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Student loan debt a factor in some divorces, survey says

Years ago, it was entirely possible to pay your way through college by working a part time job and perhaps taking out a small loan. After graduation, you would be able to get a well-paying job, so the loan was easily paid back. During this time, you would be able to move on with your life. You could get married, buy a house and perhaps even have children. In short, your student debt, if you had any at all, was not onerous.

Unfortunately, for many young adults in Virginia, this dream is no longer possible. The costs of a college education have skyrocketed, so that students must take out significant loans simply to pay for tuition, room and board and textbooks. And, upon graduation there is no guarantee a student will obtain a job that pays enough for them to easily pay back their student loans. Their loans will follow them throughout adulthood, significantly impacting their financial future and causing them to experience a great deal of stress, especially if they are struggling just to make the minimum payments on their loans.

Financial stress can be hard on a marriage. A survey by Student Loan Hero found this was especially true with regards to student debt. According to the survey, over one-third of once-married respondents reported that student loans were a factor in their decision to end their marriage. Specifically, 13 percent of respondents reported that student debt was the primary reason they decided to divorce.

Student debt can even complicate a divorce. This is because, just as marital property must be divided, so must marital debt. It is entirely possible that student debt could be included in the division of assets and liabilities, if the debt was incurred while the couple was married or if it commingled with marital assets. Student debt could be one of the biggest liabilities a couple has, which could have a major impact on the property division process.

When a couple in Virginia divorces, their assets and liabilities will be divided via equitable distribution. This means that the goal of property division is to reach a fair result, even if this means an uneven split. Therefore, it is possible that either party may be responsible for paying some or all of their student debt. With the right help, however, it is possible to divide debt in a manner that both parties are satisfied with.

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