My holiday is not so happy with my equitable distribution trial on the horizon. There are $125,000 student loans. My ex and I were married around 25 years, so these student loans are our son’s education at a private college. Yes, he has his costly degree and no job. He is living with me again. My ex wants these loans to be marital debt and wants me to pay half. I only make $35,000 and barely make ends meet. He makes at least $120,000. How do I make him pay these student loans? He signed, not me. I knew I could not afford the loans.
Student loans for children can be marital debt, but the determination seems fact-driven. Marital debt is a debt incurred for the joint benefit of the parties during the marriage. The question arises regarding whether having a child with a college education is an intangible benefit for parents.
Court of Appeals Judge Wood wrote recently in Purvis v. Purvis that a college debt of $164,163 was a marital debt to parents in equitable distribution. Purvis was a case of first impression. The driving factors seemed to be that the mother, who had lousy credit, had filled out and submitted the student loan application for the father to obtain the student loan for the child. The money went directly to the school. On another occasion, the mother’s mother signed a loan for the grandchild. The mother admitted she knew about the loans and tacitly agreed to the loan – her only out was she didn’t sign the loan agreement. The father was ordered to pay for 75 percent of the loan (Purvis) and the mother 25 percent in the equitable distribution.
Your best argument will be either 1) you did not know about the loan, if that is true, or 2) the father should pay more than you because of his income.
Good luck with this! Happy Holidays, Carolyn
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And get the son with the costly degree out to get a J.O.B. It doesn’t have to be his degree field or bring in pay like his dad’s. But work to start him up some ladder and who knows where that leads. Hopefully better than a once removed cousin of mine with his degree in museum history and no job for that so he ended up for years dressed as the cow at you know the chicken eatery. That ladder led him up into a dull HR job with them.
You wonder why China and India are outperforming the US in patent filings, and why 75% of post grads in STEM fields are being paid by their governments to study here, when we refuse to make even 2 year degrees free to all and saddle kids with perpetual debt the McJobs won’t pay enough to recoup? If we don’t invest in secondary education in order to fatten administrator wallets, we fail to achieve our human potential and are destined to be technology importers instead of exporters.