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Study links heavy student loan debt to divorce

Married couples in Oklahoma and around the country often choose to divorce after running into problems with money. The results of a survey of divorced spouses conducted by the financial information and advice website Student Loan Hero suggest that educational debt is especially toxic to marital bliss. One in three of the divorced spouses polled said that arguments over money had prompted them to end their marriages, and one in eight of them said that student loans were the cause of these arguments.

The problem is expected to become more serious in the years ahead as the costs of obtaining a college degree continue to rise. During the last 10 years, the amount graduating student students owe to lenders has grown by 62%, and the number of graduates with student loan debt of $50,000 or more has tripled. Students who graduated in 2017 entered the workforce with an average of about $34,000 in educational debt.

This kind of debt makes it difficult for young married couples to plan for the future or save the money they will need to buy a home. Student loan payments are usually made for at least 10 years, which means that these financial struggles are rarely seen as short-term problems. Some analysts advise couples with heavy educational debt burdens to enter into prenuptial agreements that let spouses know where they would stand if the marriage ends in divorce.

While the peace of mind provided by prenuptial agreements may help marriages to endure, they should be drafted carefully as they are often challenged in court. An experienced family law attorney could urge a couple considering a prenuptial agreement to negotiate in good faith and work toward an understanding that is essentially fair and equitable.

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