Can my wages be garnished for my husband’s medical bills that were incurred before our marriage?

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2010

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Can my wages be garnished for my husband’s medical bills that were incurred before our marriage?

A lawyer called my husband threatening to take him to court for outstanding medical bills he had before we were married. He is unemployed right now without receiving unemployment benefits. We are barely scraping by. The lawyer wouldn’t listen to trying to work out a payment plan and threatened to take my pay check. Can they do that?

Asked on December 28, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that liability for pre-marital debt varies from state-to-state.  However, the general rule is that unless a spouse agrees to be liable for their other spouse's a pre-marital debt, they are not a party to the transaction.  Accordingly, he/she will not face liability for the debt. 

Bottom line, you need to speak directly to an attorney in your state who specializes in family law to obtain a moreaccurate answer that reflects your particular facts.

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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