Can the spouse be held liable if the other spouse co-signs amortgage for their child?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2011

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Can the spouse be held liable if the other spouse co-signs amortgage for their child?

If husband wants to co-sign for a mortgage loan for his son (from ex-wife) because he doesn’t have enough income, can the the current wife be held liable? She does not agree to this transaction, does not want any ownership and does not want to be liable. What needs she to do?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Good question. If one spouse signs a document a a co-signer for another person, the other spouse would not be personally liable under the contract for the simple reason that he or she did not sign the loan agreement.

However, in the event of a default on the loan where one spouse was a co-signer, the lender can sue the one spouse who signed the loan as a co-obligor and obtain a judgment against that spouse where one-half of the marital property would be subject to levy and wage garnishment in the event of a judgment. Not good for the spouse that did not sign the loan. Even worse for the spouse that did.

Given the facts of the question, serious discussions should be made between the two spouses before the loan by the one spouse is signed as a co-obligor.

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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