One concern you may have during your divorce is the risk of having to take on your spouse's student loan debt. The good news for some people is that student loans that their spouse took out before marriage will stay in that spouse's name. Unfortunately, if your spouse went to school while you were together, that could be a different situation.
Take, for example, a situation in which a husband cosigns on a loan for his wife. They take out the loan to refinance an older school loan she had, but now that they're getting a divorce, the husband is still on the hook. Why? Co-signing means that you took on the responsibility to cover that debt if the other person doesn't pay (yes, even if you're divorced).
How can you avoid taking on your spouse's student loan debt after divorce?
One good option is to negotiate and ask that they refinance the loan in their own name. Another option may be to pay off the loan prior to divorce so that there is no question about who owes it later on.
A third option, and potentially the safest, is to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. That agreement could state exactly how the debt would be repaid in the event of a divorce. For instance, you could say that you'll still pay 20% of the debt or that any student loan debt specifically belongs to the person who was going to school.
Your attorney can help you understand more about the community property laws that may affect your case and how student loan debt can be managed if your spouse accrued it during your marriage.