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Student loan debt is a factor in many divorces

For couples divorcing in Georgia, it's not unusual for financial stress to be a factor that contributes to the split. One specific issue that's becoming increasingly common among divorcing couples is student loan debt, according to results from a study conducted by a debt management website. Student loan borrowers carry an average balance of just over $34,000. However, this amount may soon be closer to $40,000 based on recent trends.

More than half of all individuals surveyed said college loan debt contributed to their divorces. Furthermore, nearly 15 percent of borrowers specifically cited school-related debt as the reason for ending their marriages. Part of the reason for this trend may be rapidly rising college costs, which have gone up more than 60 percent over the past decade. The percentage of borrowers owing $50,000 or more has tripled within the same 10-year period.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed for a different study reported fighting about money with their spouses "somewhat often." The study found that about 25 percent of respondents simply preferred not to tell their partners about student debt. More than 15 percent went a step further and said it was fine to lie to a partner about money-related issues. Ironically, getting a divorce sometimes makes debt problems even more significant because of legal fees, court costs and other expenses. In fact, student loan debt can up the cost of a divorce by as much as $2,000.

When a marriage ends and there is a dispute about debt responsibilities, a lawyer may be able to help with the negotiation process. If student loan debt was incurred prior to marriage, it usually remains separate from joint marital debt. An attorney can discuss possible financial obligations in situations involving college loans obtained during a marriage.

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