Divorce introduces many financial considerations, one of which is the division of debts. If during your marriage your spouse accrued student loan debt and you supported them through school, you might wonder if you are responsible for part of this debt in your Texas divorce.
Texas is a community property state, which has specific rules for dividing debts and assets in a divorce. Here is what you need to know about your responsibility for your spouse’s student loan debt.
Community property versus separate property
In a Texas divorce, the court divides community property, which is any property or debt acquired during the marriage. However, separate property, which includes property or debt acquired before marriage, remains with the original owner.
Timing and purpose
If your spouse took out student loans during your marriage, these loans are usually considered community debt. However, the purpose of the loan matters. If the funds from the student loans only benefitted your spouse’s education and did not support the household, the court might consider the debt separate property, assigned only to your spouse.
How is community property divided in Texas?
In Texas, the law requires a just and right division of community property. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The court considers various factors, including each spouse’s earning potential, who has custody of the children and the health of each spouse.
Consideration of your contributions
If you helped your spouse through school by working, taking care of the household or paying for their education directly, the court may consider these contributions when dividing the student loan debt.
Getting an agreement in writing
If you and your spouse can agree on how to divide the student loan debt, you can put this agreement in writing and present it to the court. The court usually respects these agreements as long as they are fair and reasonable.
In a Texas divorce, it can be a challenge to determine whether you are responsible for part of your spouse’s student loan debt. Understanding community property laws can help you deal with this issue.