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Addressing student loans in a prenuptial agreement

Student loans represent a common form of debt for spouses in Maryland and throughout the U.S. In addition, many individuals decide to take out loans and go to school after getting married. Because laws assign responsibility for these loans depending on when a person gets married, careful consideration should be given to these obligations as well as the possibility of divorce. The negotiation of a prenuptial agreement could establish how student loans and other debts could be divided if the marriage ends.

The law would consider a loan taken by someone before marriage to be nonmarital property. However, in a state that applies the concept of equitable distribution to property division in divorce, a court might impose temporary spousal support on a high-earning partner to cover debts that might overwhelm a low-earning partner after the split. For loans taken after marriage, both spouses incur shared legal responsibility for the debt.

A person concerned about their potential spouse's student loans could specify how the debt would be treated in a divorce with a prenuptial agreement. While negotiating the terms of this document, both people could fully disclose all of their financial assets and debts. This process could help people avoid unpleasant surprises after marriage as well as burdensome debt or spousal support obligations in the event of a divorce.

When negotiating a prenuptial agreement, it's important to receive legal advice. A family law attorney may advise that the agreement address important issues such as child support, child custody and property division. An attorney could also inform the client about the tax consequences of certain choices.

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