While a growing national conversation has pointed to the damage that massive student loans have done to millennials’ financial well-being and future, that student loan debt could also pose a risk to their marriages. Student loan debt is a significant financial issue for many, especially young people. Across the country, the average educational debt burden is $34,144 while that number is $39,400 for people who graduated as part of the class of 2017. In addition, over the past decade, the percentage of borrowers who owe $50,000 or more has gone up by three times.
Student loan debt, like other types of debt, can impose severe financial pressure on a person. Borrowers may feel rushed to rid themselves of the debt and work longer hours in less desirable jobs in order to meet their financial goals. The debt itself can also be a major source of psychological stress that weighs on the mind and interferes with relationships. Surveys show that a number of millennials have delayed marriage because of their debt, including educational debt. For those who do decide to marry, the stress created by this burden can also put stress on the relationship and lead to divorce.
One survey of student loan borrowers found that a third of the divorced borrowers attributed the end of their marriages to financial issues, including outstanding student loan debt. Another 13 percent of respondents directly said that their divorces were caused by student loan struggles. Disputes over when to have children or purchase a home because of the debt can also overwhelm a marriage.
Financial incompatibilities, including the ways in which people spend and manage money, can reveal long-term irreconcilable differences. When these differences lead people to divorce, a family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to get a fair settlement in terms of property division and other key issues.