Can my wife be held responsible for my debt from before we were married?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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Can my wife be held responsible for my debt from before we were married?

I live in TX, which is a community property state. I got married 2 years ago. We both owned homes prior to the marriage. I am very upside down in mine, and behind on the mortgage. If my mortgage company forecloses, will my wife be held responsible in any way? Will her credit score be effected? I also wonder what I can expect when it comes to them collecting the balance still owed after the property is sold. Would I be able to walk away with lousy credit, or will they take whatever actions necessary to collect?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Texas


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, a spouse cannot be held liable for pre-marital debts.  However, as you note, TX is a community property state.  And typically in a community property state one spouse assumes liability for the other spouse's pre-marital debts.  As a practical matter, many creditors do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses as doing so tends to complicate the legal process involved in obtaining a judgment.

Since community property laws are unique to each state regarding spousal liability, you should consult directly with an attorney in your state who can review the details of your situation and advise you accordingly.

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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