Student Loans in a Pennsylvania Divorce
Student loans are required to be considered in a divorce. However, Pennsylvania courts do not always handle student loans like other loans.
The first step in the analysis is to determine if the student loan is a marital debt or a non-marital debt. If the student loan was incurred during the marriage, it is a marital debt. If the student loan was incurred before marriage or after separation, the student loan is a non-martial debt. Marital debts are subject to equitable distribution.
The second step in the analysis, if the debt is marital, is to determine how a court would consider the student loan. In the Pennsylvania case Hicks v. Kubit, the Pennsylvania court held that while the student loan was a “marital debt” a court is not required to treat the student loan like other debts. The court noted that student loans are personal in nature to the spouse who received the education. The benefit of the student loan is primarily received by the spouse who received the education. Thus, while the student loan in Hicks v. Kubit was marital, the court assigned 100% of the loan to the spouse who received the education. Furthermore, the court held that the student loan did not offset the assets received by the spouse responsible for the student loan.