When people get married, they often promise “’til death do us part.” They may not realize if that “parting” happens due to divorce that they may also be responsible for their ex’s debts. When determining who gets what as part of a divorce agreement, most people here in Georgia probably think of shared assets or property. However, student loan debt could be part of that agreement as well, depending on several circumstances.

First, if the student loan debt was taken on before the debtor got married, it is considered separate property and will not be divided during a divorce. For those who took out student loans during the course of their marriage, the rules are a bit different. The state of Georgia is an equitable distribution state. That means that a court will consider what a fair division of assets and debts should be between two ex-spouses.

The court will look at how the loan was used. This means that if the debtor used the money on shared living expenses, the other spouse could also be liable for the debt. However, if the court determines that the other spouse made some kind of contribution to the debtor’s education, such as caring for children, the court may not assign any of the student loan debt to the other spouse. The court will also look at whether the debtor obtained a degree and if each spouse has a similar earning power. Both of those circumstances will influence how a court divides the debt, if it does so at all.

It is important that anyone seeking a divorce here in Georgia gets competent legal advice from an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help a person ensure that the divorce agreement treats him or her fairly. If a person may have to take on the student loan debt of his or her ex, it is important that all factors are considered to determine what is best for all parties.