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My question: Legally should a husband have any responsibility for his wife's student loan if it was taken out during their marriage? They are divorcing, the loan is in her name, and I, her mother, co-signed for the loan.

The loan amount is about $125,000. Way back when when I cosigned, it was not that much. It could be that they applied for additional loans after the first one without my consent. I don't even remember the initial amount, but I think it was about $30,000. It was about 14 years ago. I chose not to take any action about this when I learned the amount a few years ago when they were still married because I didn't want to make criminal charges. She went back to school, and during that time they didn't make payments, so I'm sure the interest piled on.

Their current situation: They divorced without telling me. Per the terms of the divorce, accountability for repayment ended up to be solely my daughter's responsibility. Her ex will only be paying her a few hundred dollars a month extra that is incorporated in her child support payment. They have one child and support ends in 4 years. After that, he has no future responsibility. They have no other debts and very few assets.

They got an $800 divorce and shared the same lawyer. I believe that her ex manipulated her in order to get out of any responsibility for this. Evidently his logic is that his dad gave them lots of money while they were married, so this should not be his responsibility.

Does my daughter have any recourse? Do I? Thank you. I need some advice.

  • Could you edit and add a country tag – Dheer Mar 30 '16 at 3:27
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    Regulations vary by county and there is no universal rule. – Dheer Mar 30 '16 at 4:59
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    He didn't get a degree out of the student loan, why on earth should he pay for it? It's not like the degree is a shared asset. Frankly I doubt you have a leg to stand on, the courts have made a sensible decision based on hundreds of cases of legal precedent (student loans are virtually never split in a divorce). This is your daughters debt. – Jon Story Mar 30 '16 at 13:31
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    Once a divorce is done it is meant to be final. You can generally seek changes only if the other person lied about something or hid important information. You probably can't change the terms of the divorce. – gaefan Mar 30 '16 at 14:31
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    Usually, you discuss debt/asset splits before the divorce is finalized, not after... – littleadv Mar 30 '16 at 14:39
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You and your daughter need to consult a lawyer.

Generally, the court decides how the family debts get split in a divorce, and it sounds like the court decided that this student debt belongs solely to your daughter and not her husband.

Whether that was the correct decision or not depends on lots of details, but of course, your daughter didn't help herself at all by getting a cheap divorce and not having her own attorney.

At this point, you and your daughter should consult a good attorney, show him or her the divorce decree and the loan paperwork, and he or she should be able to tell you if anything can be done.

As far as your own personal exposure to the debt as the cosigner, that depends on the paperwork you signed and is another question for the attorney.

  • Do you have to pay a fine for divorce or is $800 just the amount they paid their lawyer? I was not expecting divorce to be expensive in that regard (moreso expensive in that you often have to give up half your stuff). – TylerH Mar 30 '16 at 13:13
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    @TylerH See this Nolo article for more information. – Ben Miller Mar 30 '16 at 13:20
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    @TylerH Having been married and divorced in the USA, there are filing fees for marriage as well as divorce. These fees are roughly equal. If there are minor children, than there may be required classes which adds cost. Beyond that expense for divorce is as discretionary as the expense for a wedding. – psaxton Sep 26 at 15:10

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