Dividing Student Loan & Credit Card Debt During Divorce

dividing marital debtQuestion:

My spouse applied for and received a student loan, which I was unaware of until the beginning of our divorce when she had to submit a financial affidavit. Now she wants me to pay it. Am I obligated to pay any portion of it?

We also have a credit card from our bank that is i n my name only, but she made the majority of the purchases on the card. Should she have to pay half the card’s balance?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

You have a strong argument that the student loan debt should not be considered marital debt, as your wife is the only person who will benefit from the debt.

Omaha divorce attorney Nancy Shannon
Omaha divorce attorney Nancy Shannon

The debt resulting from the credit card purchases is more likely to be considered marital. Regardless of whose name the debt is in, the key factors are when the debt was incurred and why. There doesn’t seem to be a dispute that debt was incurred during the marriage. You could try to argue that the purchases were not for the benefit of the family, though this is often very difficult to do unless she clearly made a purchase just for herself, for example, a trip by herself or plastic surgery.  The burden will likely be on you to show the debt is not marital.

Family law is based on statutes that are state specific. I am licensed to practice in Nebraska and am not able to give specific and detailed legal advice regarding your situation. You need to contact an attorney licensed in your state who specializes in domestic litigation.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Nebraska divorce lawyer Nancy Shannon, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Dividing Student Loan & Credit Card Debt During Divorce

    Well, I’m not an expert, but the student loan might be considered as a marital debt. How? If the spouse got into college and graduated from it, it would mean that her education level is higher, which then means potentially higher chance to get a better job and earn more money. But it’s just my opinion.

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