Photo of Greco Law attorneys in office conference room

Can student loans offset the value of a business in divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | Divorce |

Many people who operate a small business or develop a professional practice want their company to support their family. They may have worked full-time while attending school to get their degree and establish their professional reputation.

It is quite common for professionals to make personal and financial sacrifices while attempting to establish themselves financially. Spouses and children of such entrepreneurs often make sacrifices too, by deferring their own desires or accepting less time with the ambitious professional as they find their way.

Eventually, the whole family may reap the benefits of everyone’s investments. However, the business that someone started as a professional practice could – as a result of the complexities of family life – could end up being at risk of division in an Ohio divorce too. For some people, the value of their student loans can help counter the value of their professional practice when the question of how to value everyone’s contributions to the situation at hand becomes urgent business.

Timing is everything for property division

Couples facing high-asset divorces almost inevitably disagree about the fair and appropriate way to share their resources and debts. There can be disputes about not only what would be an appropriate way to divide the assets but even what property the couple will have to share.

Technically, equitable distribution rules make most of the property someone acquires during marriage and that they took on while married part of the marital estate that they share with their spouse. A spouse demanding a portion of the value of a dental practice may fight less tenaciously when they understand that they will also need to accept responsibility for a significant portion of the student loans used to secure the professional degree.

Just like the value of the business is subject to division based on the date when the spouse acquired or started the company, so too are many debts divisible if someone initiated those obligations during the marriage. When someone’s professional student loans come with a massive balance, the responsibility to help repay those obligations might diminish one spouse’s interest in a small business or professional practice.

If nothing else, those obligations can be an important negotiating point as spouses sort out how to share both their belongings and their debts with one another after their divorce. Learning more about property division rules with the assistance of a legal professional can benefit those who are preparing for negotiations with their spouse or a hearing in family court.