When young people think about heading off to college in Connecticut there are so many exciting experiences that cross their minds. They think of parties, new friends, fraternities and sororities and even a little about getting a degree. What many don’t consider is the amount of debt that they will accrue and the impact that debt will have on their lives. College is extremely expensive, and without a scholarship to help ease that burden, it can have a negative impact on the student’s future. Studies show that student debt is a factor in the divorce of a significant number of former college students.

Many couples delay getting married because of debt. They don’t want to enter into the marriage with such a significant burden hanging over their heads, so they opt to pay off debt prior to having the wedding. Others feel getting married is more important to them, so they go ahead and say “I do” and plan to tackle the financial hurdles together. Sometimes this plan works, but other times the stress of the financial burden is too much for the relationship.

Studies have shown that financial stress is one of the top causes of divorce in Connecticut and across the country. That stress can come from lost jobs, unexpected expenses or loans. What is surprising is the number of people who blame student loan debt specifically for their split. Approximately 13 percent of divorced couples claim student loans caused so many problems in their marriages that they divorced because of them.

The burden of paying off the debt itself isn’t the only challenge when it comes to student loans. Having the debt can cause a change in lifestyle such as causing a delay in being able to buy a home or start a family until the debt is settled. If only one spouse contributed to the debt, there can be feelings of resentment from the other partner.

An experienced family law attorney can help by drafting a prenuptial agreement which specifies which partner is responsible for any debt. This can reduce the strain on the relationship and lead to a more successful marriage. If the burden is still too much and the marriage ends, an attorney for each party can offer counsel and support through the divorce to help make the split as amicable as possible.