Am I liable for my fiance’s mortgage debt?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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Am I liable for my fiance’s mortgage debt?

When my fiance got divorced, her divorce decree stated that her ex-husband was to either sell the house in 6 months or take her name off all mortgages. My fiance just found out that she is still on the mortgage; bill collectors called her work looking for her ex-husband who is behind on payments. I am supposed to get married in exactly a month. If I marry my fiance before her name is off the mortgage, will I be liable for the debt of the house? What type of lawyer should I contact to clear this matter up and what steps should I take?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Family Law, Iowa


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Guidance here is really two fold.  Theoretically the debt is in her name and not yours so the nmortgage holder can ot come after you to pay on her debt.  But in reality what can happen is that if the creditor obtains a judgement against you fiance they can go after any asset that has her name on it.  So if you are holding a joint account they can levy on it.  A joint tax return they can attach it.  A house they put a lien.  So it will indeed effect you.  What your fiance needs to do is to call her lawyer and work on holding her ex in contempt of seeking to modify the divorce agreement - which was a contract - to get her name off the mortgage.  She could make the mortgage current and then possibly sue her ex for the money.  In the meantime, keep things seperate for a bit.  Good luck. 

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