Ways To Handle A Child's Education Debt During A Divorce

The division of assets during a divorce is a topic that many couples think about considerably, but it's easy to overlook how you'll divide your debts, too. This is an important subject to go over with each other — or, if you're having trouble communicating in a civil manner, to raise with your respective divorce lawyers. One particularly challenging situation is when you have a child in post-secondary education and you've accrued significant education debt, which could be several thousands of dollars, depending on how much of the bill you're covering for your child. Here are some ways to handle this education debt during a divorce.

Divide It

One of the simplest ways to deal with the education debt from your child going to school is to divide it. This means that you and your spouse will each take on a set percentage of the debt moving forward and be responsible for paying it off in a timely fashion. Dividing the debt 50/50 makes sense if you both earn approximately the same amount of money, but this isn't the only way to divide it. Provided that you can come up with a division that suits both of you and your respective attorneys, this can work well.

One Person Assumes It And Gets Help

If one of you makes considerably more than the other person, it makes sense for that person to assume your child's education debt. If this is you, the debt will be your responsibility, but you may want to stipulate that your spouse makes a small contribution each month to help out. For example, if he or she were to give you $100 a month, it would be a gesture that this person is committed to helping out — even if you're taking care of the lion's share of the debt. If you want this type of arrangement, it needs to be laid out in writing. Don't simply request that your spouse helps out and then fail to put it in ink.

One Person Takes Care Of It

Another option is for one person to assume the entire education debt and take care of paying it off. There are several scenarios in which it may make sense to do this. For example, if your spouse will be taking primary custody of a younger child who is not yet in college, you might feel that a fair trade-off is to take care of the debt yourself. If you're leaning toward this scenario, make sure to factor in the monthly debt payments when you're working out spousal support and child support so that you don't leave yourself short.