Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Joint Marital Assets when returning to Grad School ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Joint Marital Assets when returning to Grad School
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: johnnyd7-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Jun 2003 13:24 PDT
Expires: 27 Jul 2003 13:24 PDT
Question ID: 222506
Two (2) married partners heading back to school full-time - one Nurse
Practiconer - One Law - are each'loans also the rsponsibility of the

Request for Question Clarification by gwagner-ga on 27 Jun 2003 15:18 PDT
I'm not a lawyer, so, unfortunately, I can't answer your question
authoritatively. But as far as I understand, both of you are indeed
responsible for each other's loans. Since this is the case, I'd urge
you to consider going as far as to co-sign each other's loans. Some
lenders offer quite significant interest rate discounts if your loan
is co-signed by another person. (At least that was the case with my
wife's medschool loans, which I co-signed.)

Best wishes,

Clarification of Question by johnnyd7-ga on 27 Jun 2003 16:03 PDT
That pretty much does it!


I once had a Law Student tell me if his wife left hin his loans were his problem.

Request for Question Clarification by gwagner-ga on 28 Jun 2003 09:47 PDT
I pinned it down a bit further now. What seems to be important is
whether the loan counts as "marriage estate" or not. For example, if
one of the partners in a marriage accumulates huge consumer debts on
his or her credit card without the other person knowing, these debts
would ordinarily not be considered as part of the "marriage estate" --
assuming there is indeed a pretty good case that the other person
didn't know about it. In your example of student loans, it will be
rather hard to make that case, since it's pretty unreasonable to
expect that your spouse did not know that you were attending school.

I have a couple sources (including legal citations) for this claim and
I could also elaborate a bit further on the advantages of both of you
co-signing the loans. Would that be an acceptable answer?

Many thanks,

Clarification of Question by johnnyd7-ga on 28 Jun 2003 10:43 PDT
That'll do it!!
Subject: Re: Joint Marital Assets when returning to Grad School
Answered By: gwagner-ga on 28 Jun 2003 11:43 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi johnnyd7,

Thanks for accepting my suggestions above as an answer to your
question. Firstly I just want to draw your attention to the Google
disclaimer on the bottom of the page. I'm indeed no lawyer, so my
suggestions and conclusions in the clarification requests above and in
this answer are only based on web research (and personal experience,
in the case of the co-signing part), not on any kind of legal training
or professional experience.

To elaborate a bit further on the "marriage estate" issue, this seems
to be the crucial determinant in many divorce cases. See, for example,

a site sponsored by the Divorce Resource Center, which discusses debt
incurred during marriage. Such debt will generally be counted towards
the joint marriage estate, if it is reasonable to assume that the
other partner has known about the debt and/or benefited from it. In
the case of student loans, it might be difficult to show that both
partners directly benefit from one partner's education, but it is very
reasonable to assume that both partners have known about the loan and
thus have implicitly approved them. The above
cites two cases specifically dealing with this issue: Roberts v.
Roberts, 670 N.E.2d 72 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996) and McConathy v.
McConathy, 632 So. 2d 1200 (La. Ct. App. 1994). There might be some
states with different interpretations of the law, but at least in
these two (Indiana and Louisiana), the legal responsibility seems to
be clear.

In regards to the second part about co-signing, it seems that every
lender has different rules. However, most do offer some kind of
discount for co-signing. It could either be by lowering some fees or
by directly lowering the interest rate by up to half a percent. The
loans I am familiar with are Medloans offered by AAMC, the Association
of American Medical Colleges. The package enclosed with the loan
application mentions that co-signed loans will result in lower
repayment fees, which can be quite significant for these kind of med
school loans that can often amount to 100 to 200 thousand US$. I would
strongly urge you to look into this possibility for your law and nurse
practitioner loans, especially since divorce law practice seems to
indicate that you will be jointly responsible for the loans no matter

Best of luck with sorting out your loans and most importantly, of
course, with your respective courses of study!

Best wishes,
johnnyd7-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
great answer 
Five stars

Subject: Re: Joint Marital Assets when returning to Grad School
From: neilzero-ga on 28 Jun 2003 06:30 PDT
My guess is the liability of the spouse varies from state to state,
and may depend on the loans preceeding or following the marriage date.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy