As many North Carolina residents know, there are various reasons why people get divorced. Financial issues are commonly cited as causes behind separations. However, some may be surprised to learn that debt from college loans could significantly contribute to the end of a relationship.

In a recent survey conducted by the education debt managing website Student Loan Hero, 13 percent of respondents pointed to college loan debt as a specific factor in their divorces. This connects directly with the rising costs of a college education and the loans many students take out to pay for it. The average college loan balance is $34,000, which is an increase of 62 percent over a decade. Furthermore, loan balances of over $50,000 have tripled during the same amount of time.

In another survey, 43 percent of respondents admitted that they fought with their significant others about money frequently. Nearly a quarter said they did not tell their significant others about their loans. The same study found that 18 percent of respondents felt that it was acceptable to lie about money to a partner. With money being such an important issue, debt can become a point of tension in a marriage, particularly since it can affect a couple’s financial mobility and ability to buy a home.

If a couple cannot settle their differences, a divorce might be the only logical solution. However, divorces can be costly and even add to a person’s debt if they’re not handled correctly. For spouses who have decided to take this step, a consultation with a lawyer might be beneficial. A lawyer can explain the stages of divorce and offer support through the legal process.