Who is obligated to pay student loans in a divorce one or both parties?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who is obligated to pay student loans in a divorce one or both parties?

My wife and I have been married for 27 years, however she left the household and now is seeking a divorce. She owes $70,000 in student loans. Her and her lawyer are trying to get me to pay one half of these loans that she alone signed for while going to college. What does WV law say about this situation?

Asked on September 21, 2018 under Family Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you did not sign for the loans, you are not liable for them. Your state is not a community property state: that means that the debts of one spouse acquired during marriage do NOT automatically become the debts of the other spouse. And even in a community property state, if the debts were acquired pre-marriage, they remain solely the debts of the spouse who took them out. Since you did not sign for or guaranty these loans, you do not have to pay them. You may choose to agree to pay some of them, if in doing so, you get something else you want in the divorce, but that makes them a negotiating point, not an obligation.

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