Texas is a community property state, and that could have an impact on your student loans. The biggest effect is when your spouse borrows the money while you are still married. Then, that debt becomes community debt that you must pay your share of, even after you are divorced.
Who pays the student loan debt depends on when it was taken
It does not matter that the other spouse may have been the only person who signed their name on the loan. Both ex-spouses are equally responsible for it, as unfair as it may seem. The only way out of this outcome is to sign a prenuptial agreement, or even a postnuptial agreement when your spouse decides that they want to go to school. You could agree ahead of time that each spouse would need to pay their own student loan debt in the event of a divorce, and that would preempt Texas’ community property laws. These rules would even apply if you lived in another state when the debt was incurred and moved to Texas.
Debt before the marriage is separate property
If you have the debt in your own name from before the marriage, the divorce would have no impact. You would still need to pay back the debt, and the other spouse would not be obligated to pay it because it is not community debt. Instead, it is considered separate property, just like anything else that a spouse brought into the marriage. However, one spouse could assume some of the debt as part of the marital separation agreement in exchange for other assets of the couple if they chose.
Student loans and divorce are complicated issues in community property states. Given the financial stakes, it is important to have a divorce lawyer advise you when you are negotiating the separation agreement. You may find yourself with unwelcome surprises if you overlook the student loan issue and its impact on your finances.