For many couples in Illinois, finances are one of the major sources of stress on a marriage, leading to arguments and irreconcilable differences. One major source of financial pressure on many marriages is student loan debt. On average, American student loan borrowers owe $34,144 in loans, and the average student who graduated from college or university in 2017 carried $39,400 in outstanding education debt. Many people have to make substantial payments each month to address the debt, and they may also find it difficult to take steps like obtaining a mortgage for a home until the educational debt is paid down.

Over a third of student loan borrowers in one survey said that their loans, as well as other financial issues, played a role in leading to divorce. Of the respondents, 13 percent named student loans as the specific factor that led to the end of a marriage. The stress of student loans has grown as the amount owed has also grown; the average outstanding balance has gone up 62 percent in the last 10 years while the percentage of borrowers who owe at least $50,000 has gone up three times over.

The survey also noted that 43 percent of the participants reported somewhat frequent fights about money with their partners, and almost a quarter of respondents said that they have kept quiet about their student loan debt. Student loans are only one expression of a multitude of financial issues that can befall a marriage. Different spending styles or approaches to major purchases like a home can lead to conflict.

When a marriage isn’t working anymore, it may be time to move toward divorce. By seeking representation from a family law attorney, divorcing spouses may be able to protect their assets and achieve a fair settlement that appropriately addresses marital debt and property division.