Many of us hear that property division is one of the most complex aspects of a divorce. While many people assume that has to do with their parting ways with their assets, that’s probably not as troubling as one spouse having to assume the other’s debts when they decide to split.
This unfolding of events happens quite often, though. Student loans are costly debts that no spouse wants to pay on their ex’s behalf.
How property division laws work in New Hampshire
New Hampshire subscribes to the equitable distribution doctrine when it comes to property division in a divorce. Judges use this model as to divide any assets or debts fairly instead of right down the middle. What the court believes is fair for one couple might be different from another.
How judges may apply the equitable distribution doctrine to student loans
There are many factors that a judge may consider when determining the fair division of student loan debt.
The court will likely want to know on what you spent the student loan proceeds, whether it was just on tuition or textbooks or shared housing and other living expenses. They might ask you to repay a portion of your spouse’s student loans if they used them, at least in part, to pay for household expenses.
You also may be on the hook legally to repay a portion of your soon-to-be ex’s student loans if you co-signed for the loan(s).
If the judge determines that you worked full-time to support your household while your spouse attended school, then it’s likely that they’ll assume that you did your part to contribute financially to the marriage. It’s unlikely that they’ll order you to pay any portion of your ex’s student loans in such an instance.
It’s also dubious that a judge will order you to repay a portion of your spouse’s student loans if you sacrificed your own career to facilitate your ex’s academic career.
Help in navigating property division discussions
It’s often challenging for couples to divide tangible marital assets such as homes and cars. Discussions about debt may become even more contentious. An attorney can mediate these conversations or broker agreements on your behalf in your Nashua divorce case.