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Can you get back the money spent on your spouse’s schooling when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2021 | Divorce

It can be extremely frustrating to spend years supporting someone’s goals only to find out that they want a divorce just when they graduate. You supported them thinking that the money you were spending would eventually pay off and benefit both of you once your spouse found a job in their field.

Now, it seems like they’ll reap all the benefits, and you’re out many thousands of dollars. What can you do?

It may be possible to seek spousal support to get that money back

If your spouse decides to divorce you as they start a new career following graduation or even while they’re still in school, you may be able to seek spousal support to get that money paid back to you. A temporary alimony order could include repayments for what you spent, or a portion of what you spent, on your spouse’s education so that you don’t get left with unfair losses.

Why would the law allow for this? It’s simple. The idea was that you would support your spouse in exchange for more financial security in the future. If they take that security away, then you may be entitled to at least some of the financial benefits they get from the education you helped fund.

When you negotiate with your spouse to divide your property, discuss the loans they avoided because of your support. They may be willing to negotiate a way to pay you back or give up a greater portion of the marital assets in exchange for not pursuing alimony or repayments of the money you spent. Your attorney can review your options with you.