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Ask Dave

Splitting The Student Loan

David's wife is in a jam; she has a student loan with her ex-husband and wants to pay only her share of it.

QUESTION: David is on Baby Step 2 and working the debt snowball. His wife has a student loan with an ex-husband for $55,000. Only about $17,000 of it is hers, and an attorney said it’s both of theirs because their names are on it. Is it possible to break it up so they each pay their fair share?

ANSWER: She’s liable for the whole thing. If he dies or doesn’t pay, she’s liable for all of it. If she died, this student loan debt would be forgiven on death. I don’t think you can separate this.

If you can, get an attorney and get the ex-husband to take out a loan for his share, and you do the same. If you can do that, you’re done. But that’s getting a new loan, because Sallie Mae is not going to split anything.