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Is Your Student Loan a Relationship Debt?

29 June 2020

A conversation about student loans might not be an ideal start to a first date, especially if this is a relationship with some potential. However, when beginning a new relationship, it’s helpful to know what sort of debt your prospective significant other has.

When couples separate, their assets and debts are usually shared equally between them. In most cases, this means that everything including your home, your bank accounts and even your pets are divided equally.

Is a student loan a separate debt or a relationship debt?

Whether or not a student loan becomes a relationship debt usually comes down to how the loan was spent. It is possible for a student loan to be classified as either a separate debt, a relationship debt or a bit of both. Student loans are commonly classified as a separate debt as the qualifications obtained are for personal benefit. A student loan will also be separate if the loan consists of fees paid to the education provider and/or was used for purchasing study related materials such as textbooks.

Parts of a student loan may become a relationship debt where benefits from it were enjoyed by the household. A simple example might be where the student allowance part of the debt was spent on household groceries and/or other necessities. The specific amount spent for the household benefit may be calculated and regarded as a relationship debt to be shared by both parties.

A student loan may in whole become a relationship debt if the future benefits enjoyed by the family could not have been obtained without the loan. If a couple agree that of one them should obtain a student loan that eventually led to employment which provided a substantial economic and/or social benefit to the couple, the entire loan may be regarded as a relationship debt when/if the couple separate.

Conclusion

We recommend you keep track of how much student loan is being accrued during your relationship and what impact this will have on you if you separate. If you are wondering how yours or your partner’s student loan may affect you if you separate, please get in touch and we can assist you.

 

Akeem Iyanda is a Solicitor in the Family Disputes Team at Norris Ward McKinnon. You can contact Akeem here.