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Study finds student loan debt can strain marriages

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People in Georgia who carry large amounts of debt, including student loan debt, may be more vulnerable to divorce than those who are debt-free. Three times more people have more than $50,000 in student loan debt than they did a decade ago. The average student loan balance of $34,000 is 62% higher than it was 10 years ago.

Money problems are a common contributor to conflict and divorce. Student Loan Hero conducted a survey and found that 33% of debtors said money arguments contributed to their divorce, and around 12% specifically said student loan debt was the issue. The size of many people’s student loan debt means they may be unable to purchase a home or pay for other major expenditures.

People often do not think about marriage as a legal contract, but this can become painfully clear when they are negotiating a divorce agreement. A prenuptial agreement can help make the process smoother since it outlines how assets and debts will be divided. It could include a provision that in the event of a divorce, a person will be credited with payments made toward the other spouse’s debt during the marriage for the purposes of negotiating property division.

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a prenup, and in those cases, if the couple gets a divorce, they must either reach an agreement about dividing assets and debts or have a judge decide. People might not be held responsible for a spouse’s student loan debts that were brought into the marriage, but if one spouse used a significant amount of resources to pay off the other spouse’s debts, this could create some resentment during the negotiation process. However, people should try to avoid getting overwhelmed by strong emotions and focus on reaching an agreement for a fair division of property.

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