How to Lower Student Loan Payment if You're Married

Your student loan financer will set your monthly payment amounts based on the information obtained from your tax return. The important factors in determining your payment amount are your income, family size, and current debt amounts.

Filing your taxes using the status “married, filing separately”, means your loan provider will only consider the income that you earn. Your spouse’s income is only used to determine your monthly payments if you file a joint return. If you earn less than your spouse, filing a separate tax return can significantly lower your monthly payments on an income-based repayment plan.

For example, a married couple has two children. One spouse makes $50,000 annually, with no student loan debt. The other spouse makes $25,000 per year, with debt of $60,000 in student loans being repaid through an Income Contingent Repayment program. If the student spouse files a separate tax return, their payment can be a little as $25 each month. By filing a joint return, the monthly payment rises to approximately $600