01 Mar HECS (HELP/Student Loans) in Family Law Matters
There is no hard and fast rule regarding how a HECS debt (HELP/Student Loan) will be treated in a family law property settlement Gold Coast. There are many reported judgments where such a debt is included in the matrimonial property pool, and many other reported judgments where such a debt is excluded. Ultimately, the circumstances surrounding the debt will determine how it is treated. Specifically, the Court will look at:
- How the debt was incurred i.e. was it a joint decision for the studies that gave rise to the debt to be undertaken?
- Whether the debt has assisted the parties i.e. did a party use their qualification gained from the studies that gave rise to the debt to earn an income that was used to support the parties?
- Repayments towards the debt i.e. is the party with the debt earning an income that results in payments being made towards the debt, or were repayments made from joint funds during the relationship?
- Whether both parties had a debt of that nature i.e. has one party’s study loan been paid off during the relationship, and the other party’s not?
- Whether the studies are completed i.e. is the party that is incurring the debt going to receive the sole benefit of the qualifications gained post separation?
Ultimately, the decision for the Court is whether inclusion of the debt is just and equitable in the particular circumstances of the matter.