If my husband incurred debt for a car prior to marriage, can his creditor come after me now?

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If my husband incurred debt for a car prior to marriage, can his creditor come after me now?

My husband wrecked a car with no insurance and didn’t pay for the car prior to marriage. I’m not signed on the loan. He now has garnishment of property but has no property in his name at this time. Can they come after property in my name now we are married? And how do we get rid of this garnishment? He is in college and has $60,000 in student loans. Value of debt initially was $17,000 and is now up to $29,000 with interest. What should he do?

Asked on April 28, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No they cannot.   The fact is that there is no spousal liability for pre-marital debt (unless you were also on the debt or in some way agreed to assume this debt).  However, once you are married if your husband's creditor(s) sue, win, and are awarded judgement(s), then his assets as well as any joint assets (to the extent that they are non-exempt) will be at risk.   So keep your bank accounts and the like separate.

As for his options, he could consider bankrupcty, depending on all of the circumstances. That could at least protect him from civil action regarding the car accident.  However, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  What he may want to consider is some type of deferment or the like; for that he would need to speak to the maker of the loan.

At this point, he should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to explore all of his available options.


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