Am I responsible for my ex-husband’s debt if I live in a community property state?

UPDATED: Feb 4, 2012

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Am I responsible for my ex-husband’s debt if I live in a community property state?

I was served with court papers from a collection agency and, that I owe for a hospital bill that my ex-husband racked up 6 years ago. I went into arbitration where the outcome was that I am responsible for said debt. Now, I am getting a letter from collection agency asking for a payment of $300 a month. Ex and I were not divorced until 4 years ago, however in the divorce papers, it states that each is responsible for debt after a certain date (9 years ago). The collection agency already has a judgement against my ex for this. Can they get a judgement against me and garnish my wages?

Asked on February 4, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Arizona


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of a community property state, each spouse is responsible for the obligation of the other spouse incurred during the marriage with respect to community property assets.

From what you have written, the hospital bill of your former husband has resulted in a judgment against you and him as well where the hospital is looking at both of your assets for payment on this obligation.

Potentially your recourse is to have your former husband repay you whatever amount you are obligated to pay on this debt under your marital dissolution agreement.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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