What to do about debt incurred during separation?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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What to do about debt incurred during separation?

I’m representing myself; my soon-to-be ex has a lawyer. We have been separated for 4 years. My ex has had absolute control over the community property estate for the last 8 years when he closed our joint account and put everything in his own name. I haven’t working in 6 years. He racked up a bunch of debt since he took over the finances for stuff like gambling debts (i.e. stuff that didn’t benefit the community) and now he’s trying to have me held responsible for 1/2 this debt and reduce my CP asset award. He had complete control over the finances and took on all this debt without my consent. Any precedence?

Asked on July 25, 2011 California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property acquired during marriage.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or property acquired after the marriage ends.

The debts incurred by your ex during the four years that you have been separated are his separate property.

Debts incurred during marriage (before separation) are community property; however it could be argued that the character of the debt is determined by the character of the source of funds used to pay that debt.  In other words, since your ex closed your joint account and put everything in his name, it could be argued that he intended this to be a separate property account.  Funds used from that account to pay debts it could be argued are separate property and therefore it could be argued that the debts paid with separate property funds are also separate property.

Since your ex has an attorney, it would be advisable for you to have an attorney.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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