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In divorce, student loan debt may be divided

When South Carolina couples get a divorce, if one of them has student loan debt, both may end up responsible for paying it off. In general, student loan debt that dates from before the marriage is not considered shared property and will remain the responsibility of the person who originally took it out, but student loans that were incurred by either spouse after the couple were married may be considered shared debt along with things like credit card debt and mortgages.

One way to prevent this may be with a prenuptial agreement. Such an agreement can outline how debt will be handled in the event of a divorce, but people who are marrying often do not want to discuss this possibility. However, couples should always talk frankly about how much debt they are bringing into the relationship.

Before 2006, it was also possible for couples to consolidate student loans to lower interest rates. However, this does mean that one spouse could end up responsible for the full amount if the other spouse does not pay their share.

Dividing up debt is part of the overall process of property division, and it can be a long and complex process. One key is to strike a balance between making too many concessions in the interest of trying to move the divorce along and stalling it because of a refusal to compromise. Women in particular may see a drop in their standard of living after divorce although the same thing may happen to men, so taking steps to ensure financial security is important. This may include making sure that a retirement account is divided fairly and that people don't take on an asset they cannot afford such as the house.

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