Student loans are taking a toll on marriages in Missouri and around the country, according to a study by Student Loan Hero. The website reports that the average U.S. college loan balance is $34,144, while the average loan for 2017 college graduates was nearly $40,000. Apparently, the weight of this financial burden is breaking down marital bonds.

The survey found that a third of divorced student loan borrowers at least partly blamed college debt and other financial problems for the end of their marriage. Of those, 13 percent claimed that student loans were the primary cause of their divorce. These findings back up a previous survey that found that 43 percent of student loan borrowers report having money-related fights with their spouse somewhat often. The poll also found that 24 percent of borrowers have kept their college debt a secret from their spouse, while 18 percent think it’s okay to lie to their spouse about money issues.

AThe average outstanding college loan balance is 62 percent higher than it was 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the percentage of borrowers who owe $50,000 or more has tripled over the last decade. However, borrowers who think divorce will help them make a fresh financial start may be disappointed. The average cost of divorce ranges from $12,500 to $19,200. Worse, individuals with student loans typically pay $2,000 more for their divorce than those without college debt.

Student loan borrowers facing the end of their marriages could help their situation by working with a divorce attorney. An attorney could carefully review the specifics of the case and negotiate favorable agreements on property division and other issues.

Source: Yahoo Finance, “Marriages are crumbling under student loan debt“, Katie Krzaczek, July 31, 2018