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Student loan debt stresses marital relationships

For many young people in Ann Arbor, student loan debt represents a major burden on their financial, personal and social lives. Many millennials have postponed important life milestones like marriage and children because they first want to address mounting educational debt. Student debt has grown across the country and is far greater than in past decades. On average, a borrower owes $34,144 in student loan debt; for people who graduated as part of the class of 2017, that number is even greater, coming in at an average of $39,400.

The stress caused by this student loan burden may not only cause millennials to postpone marriage, it can also undermine existing marriages. As financial stresses are one of the most common causes of divorce, it comes as no surprise that student loan debt can be a major factor. Among one survey of student loan borrowers, 43 percent reported regularly arguing with their partners about financial issues. Another study found that a third of divorced people with student loans said that their debt burden played a role, with other economic concerns, in their divorce. For 13 percent of respondents, student loan debt was specifically to blame for the end of their marriages.

There are a number of reasons why student loan debt can be difficult for a marriage. The psychological stress created by the debt can lead people to panic or even feel depressed. Both parties can disagree about the need to postpone other life goals, like having children or purchasing a home.

Conflicts over money and how to manage spending and saving can be some of the most irreconcilable differences in a marriage. When people have decided to divorce, a family law attorney can represent a divorcing spouse in order to protect key assets and achieve a fair settlement in terms.