If you took out student loans to pay for an undergraduate, graduate or professional degree and now face a divorce, you may assume that any remaining student loan debt you owe will be yours and yours alone to repay.

While it is true that debts taken out in one person’s name only frequently remain that person’s sole responsibility, student loan debt may be considered joint debt in some situations.

How you used your student loan funds

What you did with the money from your student loans may well result in the debt being shared between yourself and your spouse. As described by U.S. News and World Report, if you used your student loan money to pay for rent on a house or apartment that you and your spouse lived in together, your spouse may be responsible for some of the debt. The same concept holds true if you used some of the money to pay for groceries, utilities or other shared living expenses.

When you took out your student loans

If you took out student loans upon entering college right after high school and then you met your spouse in your 30s, you may need to repay the debt on your own. If, however, you got married when you were 25 and then took out student loans to pay for a doctoral degree once you were married, your spouse may be partially responsible for the debt. Whether or not you completed your education and received a degree may also factor into this decision.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to help people in California understand how their student loan debts may be handled when they get divorced and the factors that may play into these decisions.