Help! Am I Responsible For My Dr Spouse’s Student Loans In Case They Die Or Get Disabled?

“My husband and I have never considered divorce. Murder sometimes, but never divorce.” – Joyce Brothers 😂

No couple ever wants to hear any of these two words with a letter “D”:

Divorce…

or

Death…

But it does happen.

As a doc wife, you should be aware of what happens to student loans in case your DrSpouse dies or if you divorce.

I will go through some generalities that every couple should know and how you can mitigate some of the risk. But if you ACTUALLY find yourself widowed or divorced and you have to make decisions (bless your poor heart), get an attorney to clarify your exact situation.

Now, let’s talk.

Federal Loans In Case They Die

Federal loans are discharged in case your DrSpouse dies so you’re not responsible for paying them.

There are exceptions, though. If you live in one of the community states, you may be on the hook if they die.

Here are the community states:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Idaho
  4. Louisiana
  5. Nevada
  6. New Mexico
  7. Texas
  8. Washington
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Alaska (sort of, it’s complicated)

Private Loans In Case They Die

Private loans have different rules than federal loans.

If your DrSpouse dies, MOST private lenders discharge your private loans, but not all of them do. This is where you have to refer to the fine print for each company.

One thing is almost for sure, if you co-signed for his private loans, then you are responsible for them.

Any Type Of Loan In Case Of Divorce

Divorce is a murky event even without student loans in the picture. What happens to your DrSpouse’s student loans if you divorce is also complicated.

It depends on your state and if you were married when the loans were taken out.

It’s safe to say that if you live in a community state then you would likely be responsible for them if you were married when the loans were taken out.

There are no real clear answers in divorce.

OK, This Is Scary. How Can I Minimize Risks?

If you co-signed, have private loans, or live in a community state, take out an additional large term life insurance policy on your DrSpouse in the amount of the loan.

Don’t co-sign. If you can’t get a loan unless you co-sign for your DrSpouse, shop elsewhere.

What about pre-nups? While pre-nups seem like a good way to exclude yourself from being jointly responsible for your DrSpouse’s student loan debt, you won’t be able to bypass your state’s laws. Good try, though.

In Summary

Student loan complications in death or divorce are the last thing you want to deal with. And the answer regarding if it affects you is typically this:

It depends.

You can mitigate some of the risk by buying a larger term life insurance policy on your DrSpouse and not cosigning on any loan with them.

If you find yourself widowed or divorced or on the verge of one, I’m here for you, girl. Also, save your heart from more grief and have an attorney give you exact answers for your situation.

I’m a hugger. I’m hugging and supporting you, friend ❤️

To your strong medical family,

Theresa

Your Turn

Did you know you live in a community state?