Typically, you’re not responsible for your spouse’s student loan debt. Under the contract terms for federal and private student loans, only the borrower who signed the promissory note is legally obligated to pay back the debt.
However, there are three instances where you could become responsible for your spouse’ loans:
if you act as their cosigner
if you combine your education debt with a spousal consolidation student loan
you live in a community property state
Cosigning your spouse’s loans or refinancing your debt with theirs makes you liable for the entire debt. So before you agree to do either of those things, make sure you know your rights.
Borrowers who live in a community property state may be responsible for debt the other spouse borrows during the marriage, including student loans. If you want to avoid that obligation, consider getting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Either of those agreements could make it so that each spouse is responsible for their separate debt.
Community property states: