Borrowing against jointly owned property against wishes of the other co-owner

UPDATED: May 25, 2009

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Borrowing against jointly owned property against wishes of the other co-owner

In Calif., if a couple owns property together, can one spouse obtain a loan using the property as collateral without the other spouse’s permission or knowledge?

Asked on May 25, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a California attorney, so I can't tell you that it's against the law, although it's unusual for a lender to be willing to give a loan on jointly owned collateral when only one of the co-owners is signing for it.

There have been unscrupulous people who have signed their spouse's name to loan papers without their knowledge -- but this is both fraud against both the lender and the unknowing spouse, and in many cases a criminal offense as well.

If your spouse has done this, or you suspect that he or she has done this, you should talk to a local attorney about your rights.  One place to find a lawyer is our website,

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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