Student Loan Debt Should Be Covered in Prenuptial Agreement
As undergraduate and graduate students from the past decade turn to marriage now that their education is complete, many are turning-up with a significant debt load. Should this be a consideration in drafting a prenuptial agreement?
Yes. A prospective spouse needs to consider their future partner’s debt burden and how the liability will be treated in the event of the death of the spouse, or a divorce.
Here are some considerations when discussing this issue with your prospective spouse:
If marital funds will be used to pay-off a significant student loan, then the non-debtor spouse could have a claim for reimbursement in the event of a divorce;
A prenuptial agreement can cover both existing and future student loan debts;
If marital funds are used to pay-off a significant marital debt [a medical or law school education, for example, that could easily reach six figures] then the contributing non-student spouse may have a claim against the earning power that professional degree, which should be clearly spelled-out in the prenuptial agreement;
If your future spouse has children for whom they have co-signed student loans, this should be covered in the proposed prenuptial agreement; and
Engaged couples must consider the “big picture” when they are drafting their prenuptial agreement, with a clear division of separate property and debts.
Remember that in order to be enforceable, the prenuptial agreement must be executed prior to the marriage. Each party needs to have the document reviewed by their own lawyer.
When properly drafted, the prenuptial agreement will take the mystery and guess-work out of your nuptials. allowing you to concentrate on your marriage.