You and your partner may have come to your own decisions about who plans to cover which debts or expenses. But it’s still important to understand what the law says about loan responsibility.
As a general rule, any loans — both federal student loans and private student loans — taken out before marriage are the responsibility of the borrower and any co-signers. Debt taken on before marriage is separate property. But if you took loans out after marriage, responsibility is going to differ depending on state laws.
In the nine community property states — Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin — loans taken out during marriage are considered marital property (or marital debt) and are owned equally by both partners in the eyes of the court. In the event of a divorce, both parties will be held equally responsible by the lender.
Related: Are student loans community property?
In all other states — equitable distribution states — any separate property or separate debt will not be divided in the event of a divorce. You are only responsible for loans you took out during the marriage.