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Student loan debt is hurting marriages, online poll finds

Communication is important when wrestling as a couple with heavy student debt, experts say.

How bad is the student loan debt crisis?

How bad is the student loan debt crisis? A new survey found that 13 percent of divorcees blamed student loan debt for ending their relationships. Photo Credit: Getty Images/DjelicS

How bad is the student loan debt crisis? The $1.6 trillion tab is taking its toll on marriages.

According to a new survey of more than 800 divorcees, polled online by Student Loan Hero, 13 percent specifically blamed student loan debt for ending their relationships.

It’s bad enough you have massive debt; here’s how to keep it from ruining your marriage, too.

Be honest

“Be upfront about how much debt you’re bringing to the table, and the limitations or pressures you feel because of your debt. If you’re hesitant about buying a house or starting a family, let your partner know. These conversations can certainly be uncomfortable, but they can prevent issues down the road,” says Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney with the Tayne Law Group in Melville.

Think of yourself as a team

It may help to attend a financial seminar together to get the conversation started, or find a financial adviser who can provide insight, suggests Samuel Deane, a financial planner with Deane Financial Partners in Manhattan. Two heads are better than one when trying to come up with a strategy, like assessing whether refinancing or consolidating debt is ideal, and what repayment options are best.

Understand how your loans affect your spouse

In certain situations, your spouse could become responsible for your loans. All federal loans have a death discharge if the borrower dies, but not all private loans do.

Read all the terms of your loans. If your loans go into default and you have no wages to garnish, your spouse may become responsible.

Says Tayne, “The key to helping your marriage survive student loan debt is knowing what you’re getting yourself into and keeping your spouse in the know as well.”

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