Virginia couples who get a divorce are likely to find the process to be emotionally taxing and stressful. One of the many aspects of divorce that can make it stressful is determining how assets and debts should be divided. For people who have student loan debt, or whose soon-to-be ex-spouse has student loan debt, it can be particularly trying.

Generally, all of the debt that is accumulated before a marriage is considered separate property. However, if the debt was acquired during the course of the marriage, dividing the debt becomes slightly more complex and is impacted by the state in which the divorce takes place.

There are nine community property states, including Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Idaho, California and Arizona. In these states, marital debts and assets are equally divided between both divorcing parties. This means that couples that get a divorce will get equal shares of all of the student loan debt that was accrued during the marriage. The exception is California, where student loans are classified as separate property.

The remaining states adhere to the equitable distribution model. Under this model, each case is examined on it owns merits, and the courts will determine how the debt can be fairly divided.

Certain factors are considered when determining how student loan debt should be equitably divided. How the funds were used, whether a spouse supported the education of the other spouse and whether a degree was awarded are just some of the factors examined.

A family law attorney may work to protect the interests and rights of clients in a divorce with regard to asset and debt division. The attorney may litigate to ensure that a client receives fair consideration under the equitable distribution model.