Love conquers all, but when it comes to love and marriage, you might not want to keep the blinders on. Whether you believe it or not, marrying someone with student loan debt affects your personal finance and financial future as a couple.
So should you marry someone with student loan debt? Yes, if you know about it and have a good plan to address it. Repaying student loans can add extra costs and stress to make it challenging to save for your future together.
One study showed that 21% of loan borrowers delayed their marriage because of student debt. Now, you’re personally not responsible for any student loans your partner brings into the marriage.
However, it’s not wise to ignore the five or six-figure student loans and focus on the dream you want to build. So what do you do? This guide will help you navigate this issue and know everything you should about marrying someone with student loan debt.
What Occurs When Marrying Someone With Student Loan Debt?
It’s advisable to know what you’ll and will not be liable for if your partner has student loans. That will help you in your marital finances and make life smoother. If you’re marrying someone with student loan debt, consider the questions :
Are You Responsible For Your Spouse’s Student Debt?
When you get married, you become one with your spouse. What’s yours also belongs to your partner, but does that include student loans? Luckily, no, at least not in terms of the legal responsibility for the student debt in marriage.
When the student loans existed before both of you got married, it becomes an “individual property” and remains the sole responsibility of your spouse. As a result, you can’t be forced to repay your partner’s debt.
However, if you cosigned with your partner, you’ll both be responsible for repaying the student loans. And it doesn’t matter when you cosigned before or after marriage.
However, things can get tricky if your spouse borrows student loans once you both get married. This is because there are specifics on who takes on the responsibility after taking the loans during the marriage. And these differ from state to state. And that’s because every state has its laws about what’s known as community property.
You Can Still Take On Some Responsibilities, If You Want
Even though you’re not legally liable for your partner’s previous massive student loan debt, you can still decide to handle some of the responsibilities. For example, you can choose to pay some of the student loan amounts every month.
You can also focus on other payments like taking care of the household bills while your spouse focuses on repayment. Another option is for both of you to pay half of the household bills and proceed with paying your debts separately.
Of course, this will depend on how you both decide to merge and manage your finances as a married couple.
If you have a complicated student loan situation or specific questions about how your state’s community property laws affect student loans, consult a lawyer. They can give you the most detailed advice concerning your circumstance that’s per local regulations.
Does Marrying Someone With Student Loan Debt Affect Your Credit?
Another significant concern is marriage, and student loans affect your credit score. However, when you get married, you still maintain an individual and separate credit report from your partner. In other words, your spouse’s credit history or debt won’t affect your credit score or history.
So there’s pretty much nothing to worry about. However, there’s an exception. If you and your partner share the same accounts or loans, including cosigned student loans, your credit will be affected.
The jointly-owned student debts will be documented on both your credit reports, including any student loan repayments. So to prevent any bad credit reports, you need to ensure that the student loans are getting paid on time. You also have to keep track of all of them.
Will Your Spouse’s Student Loans Change After Marriage?
When you get married, your partner’s monthly student debt cost won’t change if it’s private student loans. It also goes for federal loans on repayment plans that are not tied to income like the standard repayment plan.
However, income-driven repayment plans set monthly repayments based on the borrower’s family size and income rather than the debt size. When you get married, these factors can change, together with the payments every month.
Mainly, an IDR plan may use both you and your partner’s combined incomes to set your monthly payment amounts. Below, you’ll see what will or won’t occur:
- If you get married and file joint tax returns, your joint income will always be used to calculate your payments every month.
- If you get married and file separate taxes, IDR payments will be based only on your spouse’s income.
- The only exception is the REPAYE, which uses your joint income, no matter your tax filing status.
Keep in mind that how you and your spouse choose to file taxes affects more than just your monthly payments. So you need to consider your options before you proceed.
How Will Marrying Someone With Student Loan Debt Affect Family Finances?
Aside from considering the marriage and student loans, you and your spouse also need to consider how the student debt will affect your marriage in general. So, first of all, what you both need to do is to review every debt together.
List of the types of student loans, balances, monthly payments, and interest rates. When you discuss student loans, it can help you get a better grip on the situation. Then, you can talk about how combining the finances as a married couple affects your choices.
For example, do you want to pay off the student loans together? Or will the one with the student debt take full responsibility? Whatever your decision, keep in mind that it’ll affect your financial objectives and situation.
Talk about how it’ll affect your financial future and see if both of you can come up with a better strategy. That can help you both better your financial situation. So, for example, if both of you have a goal to be free of debt, you can develop a plan to pay off your debt faster.
Maybe you can’t afford the current monthly payment. Then, you can discuss how you can adjust your budget or manage by lowering the student loan repayments.
Common Problems With Marrying Someone With Student Loan Debt
When you marry someone with student loan debt, it can feel like fighting a battle. But when you face the problems together, it can strengthen your relationship and build a strong marriage. Here are the most common issues associated with marrying someone with student loan debt.
Lack Of Money
Having low salaries and massive loan payments can make your budget too tight. When you take side jobs, it can increase stress levels. So financial stress can affect your union, no matter how much you love each other.
Having a massive student loan is one thing. Working with your spouse to develop a strategy is another. It can be overwhelming when you set up short-term and long-term goals, track expenses, and devise budgets.
If any issues pop up, especially about money, it can affect your communication.
Debt Transfer Responsibility
Some married couples go in for new loans together like home equity lines of credit to decrease interest rates, combine loans, and pay off student debt. When such things happen, it can shift the debt responsibility from one person to the couple.
Even though it may look like the right thing to do, it could create severe problems in the future, especially if the marriage ends or goes into default.
It’s not simple to separate your money from your feelings. For example, partners with student loans may feel frustrated, guilty, or shave over the debt, especially when they bring it into the marriage.
Sometimes, they feel like they’re taking advantage of their spouse, mainly if they never completed a degree program or made terrible decisions with their loan money.
The partner without any loans may feel resentment overpaying more than their fair share of household expenses.
Massive Student Loan Payments And Loss Of Tax Benefits
If your spouse is on an income-driven repayment plan and filed joint taxes in marriage, the student loan payments can increase considerably. You’ll lose any tax advantages, creating additional stress in the relationship and financial issues.
Tips To Consider When Marrying Someone With Student Loan Debt
Plan To Decrease The Overall Student Loan Debt
It’s advisable to have a detailed financial conversation with your partner and develop a plan to pay off your debt as fast as possible. You should see it as your utmost priority because the more you wait, the more it affects your overall savings.
It can affect your decision to purchase a vehicle, buy a home, or commercial loans if you’re searching to start your business.
Live Within Your Means
You have to make some sacrifices when paying off your student loans. Unfortunately, this means you may have to put certain things on hold before you pay off your massive debt, like living in an affordable home instead of choosing luxury.
You also have to decrease the amount of time you eat out and purchase affordable cars.
Seek Financial Advice
The best way for you and your partner to pursue your financial freedom is with the help of a financial advisor. A student loan expert can give you all the details you need to know to pay off your student loans faster.
You may also contact a lawyer to show both of you the best way to tackle your student loans.
When marrying someone with student loan debt, keep in mind that there’s an emotional side to student debt. Whether it’s frustration, shame, or resentment, both of you should work it out to not cause disconnection or conflict in the marriage. You must talk to your partner and know what feelings they’re holding up. We know student loans can be a burden, but you don’t have to carry the load into the marriage. When both partners work proactively to deal with the debt, you can strengthen your finances and wonderful union. That said, if you want to consult a student loan expert, call 800-820-8128 for a free consultation.