Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law



H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 34 years of experience suggests that Student Loan debt incurred during the marriage may be apportioned by the Court under certain circumstances.Graduation cap with pile of money under it.

A 2019 case in the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, the Appellate Court determined that when a party incurs student loan debt during the marriage, the Court can compel the other spouse to pay a portion of the outstanding student loan debt, if the marriage benefitted economically from the education received by the debtor spouse. If there is no economic benefit to the marriage resulting from the educational pursuit of the party incurring student loan debt, the law has been that the student debt becomes the sole responsibility of the party incurring the debt. This was the case even though the student debt was marital debt, incurred during the marriage. In a recent case the Appellate Division carved out an exception holding that if income to the household is derived from the degree obtained by the debtor spouse, the Court can make the other responsible for a portion of that debt. However, the apportionment of debt was not equal, with the Court making the non-debtor spouse responsible for a little more than 38% of the debt.

From my point of view, it is now important to analyze:
(1) the amount of student debt incurred during a marriage;
(2) the income earned by the debtor spouse following the attainment of the trade, degree or certification;
(3) the earning differential between pre-education earnings and post education earnings;
(4) the length of time that such income was generated and;
(5) the disposition of those earnings following receipt by the debtor spouse. This information is critical to determine a party’s position for settlement or trial.

I have been trying divorce cases since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial
when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter by phone at 516-747-2290.

My office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, Long Island.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Garden City NY

The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.