A recent study conducted by Student Loan Hero found some interesting connections between student debt and divorce; primarily that student loans basically ruin marriages.
To be fair, financial pressure of any kind leads to higher divorce rates. Still, with the cost of college rising each year, it sounds like student loans have become a key culprit in inflated divorce rates.
The Dirty Stats About Student Debt and Divorce
Student debt has no place in a healthy marriage. Nobody ever said, “wow, this financial stress sure is bringing us closer together!”
According to the Student Loan Hero report, the average student loan debt was $39,400 in 2017. 13% of divorcees with debt reported that student loans led to the end of their marriage.
Student Debt Is Expensive
Most couples don’t feel comfortable taking on additional debt while they still owe student loans. Who can blame them? The report also pointed out that some couples were actually stuck in their unhappy marriages longer because of student debt; 35% say they delayed divorce because they couldn’t afford it.
Couples with outstanding student loans take on 10% more debt during the divorce process than couples who don’t have student loans. When you’re already in debt, you have to go deeper in debt to hire attorneys.
Student Loans Postpone Marriage Goals
When you’re $30,000 in debt, the thought of taking on thousands more for a mortgage is soul-crushing. Marital happiness is strongly affected by the ability to pursue a high standard of living. The pretty house with the white picket fence is part of the puzzle.
When couples have to wait too long to fulfill their dreams, it puts pressure on the marriage. Starting a family is another critical marriage goal that gets put on hold by student loans. Going too long with no house and no family can push couples to the breaking point. It may be time to choose between an education and a happy, long-lasting marriage.