My Ex-Husband Said He’d Pay My Student Loans in Our Divorce. But He’s Not. – Amanda

“Dear Steve,

My ex husband and I consolidated our student loans. I had $2,000 in loans, he had $97,000. We divorced in 2007. In the divorce, he got the student loans. I was held harmless (or some such term and released from them). Unfortunately, he is not paying them. He waits until the very last second to file for deferments or forebearances. And has stated quite plainly, “he just doesn’t want to pay them”.

I have since had to file bankruptcy to get my name taken off our mortgage. Due to the housing down turn their was no way he could buy me out or we could refinance that.

The BK attorneys said their was nothing I could do to get my name off the student loans.

I feel I’ll never have good credit again because of the student loan situation. And am also considering buying a life insurance policy that will cover the amount of the loans if anything should happen to him.

He said he finally worked out a payment plan with them, but if he doesn’t stick with it (and I’m afraid he won’t), they are going to come after me.

I work 32 hours a week for $10 per hour and go to school at night. Theirs no way I could ever pay his loans and besides that, I shouldn’t have too. He got the legal degree out of it, not me. I have a little ol’ AA.

Please help! Any advice would be appreciated. I am having panic attacks over this.


Dear Amanda,

I’m afraid that you are pretty well stuck. The divorce agreement wasn’t a promise to hold you harmless or release you from liability, but an agreement between you and your ex-husband on how the bills would be divided amongst you. Your liability remains for the student loan debt in your name.

Very frequently these situations don’t turn out well. I’m not sure if it is the financial struggle people face when they split or the rage in having to pay the debts of another. Regardless, the end result is the same, unpaid or late paid debts after divorce.

See also  Karen Writes In "Ex-Husband Isn't Paying The Bills and He's Trashed My Credit. What Can I Do to Repair It?"

You have a couple of options but they involve you taking over the debts again, a solution that you probably are not thrilled with. If you consolidated these through government backed loans then the IBR or Income Based Repayment option might be a solution, but that does not make him pay.

One alternative option is to go back to the divorce lawyer and ask for help in making the ex-husband pay by going back to court. But that costs money as well.

Your only hope to discharge the student loans in bankruptcy would be a Chapter 11 “hardship discharge” but that isn’t really much of an option for you until the responsibility for the loans lands squarely in your lap.

I wish I had better news for you. Student loans are just wicked.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

Follow Me
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.
Steve Rhode
Follow Me

Leave a Comment