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Property division during divorce may involve college debt

The dissolution of a marriage may happen for a variety of reasons. However, an increasing common reason for divorce is student loan debt. In fact, it is this type of debt, along with other types of debt, that makes property division contentious during divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania.

Research shows that more than 33 percent of borrowers reported that money factors, such as college loans, played a role in their marital breakups. In fact, a total of 13 percent of people who had gone through divorce specifically blamed college loans for their divorces. Over 800 adults who had gotten divorced were surveyed back in June.

The average balance that student loan borrowers have is more than $34,000 -- up more than 60 percent during the past decade. Also, the percentage of college loan borrowers with outstanding balances of $50,000-plus is now three times what it was a decade ago. Unfortunately, these hefty student loans may prevent young couples from having children or buying homes.

One of the best ways of addressing student loan debt is to create a prenuptial agreement before getting married that explains that, if the wife helps the husband to pay down his student loan debt, for example, she would receive this money back in the event of a divorce. However, for those who do not have prenuptial agreements when they divorce, they can still try to resolve their property division issues -- which includes debt division -- at the negotiation table. Otherwise, they must proceed to trial, where a judge in Pennsylvania will ultimately determine how to distribute their property in the most equitable manner possible.

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