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Why Doesn’t My Ex-Husband Have to Pay My Student Loan Debt? – Angela

“Dear Steve,

I have a consolidated student loan that sits at $87,000 right now – that amount represents my loan of approx 25,000 and my ex-husbands of approx 55,000 and the rest is interest (it’s been deferred since 1997). I consolidated at a time of emotional distress (new mom getting divorced) and didn’t understand that I had consolidated the amount into my name, just knew that I had stopped the default process. The loan has now become payable and I can’t pay it without the help of my ex-husband who is unemployed.

There are thousands of people in my situation. This is affecting my credit, stress levels and sanity. The kicker is the debt was separated/assigned in our divorce agreement that was consented by the court and it doesn’t have any bearing, why?


Dear Angela,

The divorce question is one most people don’t understand. When you get divorced you craft a document that says who is going to be responsible for what debt. That is an agreement between the people getting divorced. Not between the creditor and the person responsible. A divorce deal for the ex to pay any debt you are responsible for is only good if the ex pays it. Otherwise, the person responsible for the debt is still responsible for it and the only option would be for you to take your ex-husband to court and try to enforce the agreement between the two of you.

If these are government backed student loans look at the Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR). If these were private student loans then there are no solutions I know of. It seems all the private lenders ran for cover when the economy got bad and stopped offering any real consolidation programs.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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