Am I Liable for the PreMarital Debts, Settlements and Judgements of My Spouse?

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“My wife was in an accident without insurance before we were married, and is now being sued. Does she need to include my information on her agreement to pay back the judgment?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Your question really is whether your own income and assets can be used in satisfaction of the judgement, and the answer, unfortunately, is “it depends.” For example, if you live in a community property state, any assets which you owned prior to the marriage are your separate property, and generally speaking cannot be touched, however your current income and any assets acquired during the marriage may be fair game, if only because access to your income, even though your wife may not be able to use it to satisfy the judgment directly, in theory may free up more of her own income to use to pay the judgement. So yes, there is a good chance that she will have to list your information.

The bottom line is that in theory the debt should probably be your wife’s, and your wife’s alone, but what happens in practice isn’t always what ought to happen in an ideal world, and you should consult an attorney in your state who is familiar with both family and creditor law.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):

Family Wealth--Keeping It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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