The value of higher education in a divorce

El Paso residents should understand how careers and education can impact a divorce settlement.

Residents in and around El Paso, Texas, that face the possibility of a divorce must navigate many complex issues. Even though Texas is a community property state, that does not mean financial agreements such as property division, spousal support and child support are easy to determine.

All marital assets and debts are assessed

Many people understandably focus on what assets are to be split when getting divorced. However, that is a short-sighted view of things. Debts are also considered in divorce settlements. Home equity loans, mortgages, auto loans, credit card balances and more can all impact the final outcome of a divorce.

For some couples, student loan balances can also be taken into account during a divorce. In most cases, if one spouse incurred student loans before the marriage, that debt would be considered the separate property and responsibility of that spouse. However, notes that student loan debt incurred after a marriage takes place can be considered a joint, marital debt.

If this determination is made, both spouses will be held responsible for the repayment of the loans in some manner. The payment of alimony to the loan-holding spouse by the non-loan holding spouse is one way that this can happen.

Future income also a factor in divorce

In addition to student loans, higher education on the part of one or both spouses can also be a determining factor in a divorce settlement. According to the Huffington Post, this may be especially the case for people with professional practices such as dentists, lawyers, doctors and others. The overall value or expected income level from such a practice may be looked upon as a marital asset to be split.

The contribution of one spouse toward the other person’s ability to achieve a higher education degree while married may also enter the discussions. In some situations, one spouse can be reimbursed for their time, financial or other investments during the marriage that enabled the other spouse to pursue a specific course of study. This can be a direct reimbursement or become part of child or spousal support.

Outside experts called to weigh in

Forbes explains that vocational experts can be used to help determine the financial value of a particular career or education. These experts look at an education’s cost, a person’s current income and a person’s potential income and employability based upon the education, career path and the general market.

Professional input recommended

That a college education or choice of career can impact a divorce agreement in Texas is just one more reason to contact an attorney for help during a divorce. Getting the right professional input can make a big difference in the end.