Is a wife responsible for the debt her husband incurred prior to marriage?

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Is a wife responsible for the debt her husband incurred prior to marriage?

My boyfriend is being sue over credit card debt. I just wanted to know that when he marries me will they come after me as well? This was his credit card and I have no connection to it. I just want to make sure that I am protected from taking the fall for him even if I marry him.

Asked on July 30, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the majority of states, a spouse cannot be held liable for pre-marital debts.  However, AZ is a community property state.  As a general rule, in such a state one spouse does assume liability for the other spouse's pre-marital debts.  Practically speaking, many creditors do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses; doing so tends to complicate the legal process involved in obtaining a judgment.

That having been said, community property laws are unique to each state regarding spousal liability for debt. Accordingly you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who can review the details of your situation and advise you as to your rights and responsibilities.

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the majority of states, a spouse cannot be held liable for pre-marital debts.  However, AZ is a community property state.  As a general rule, in such a state one spouse does assume liability for the other spouse's pre-marital debts.  Practically speaking, many creditors do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses; doing so tends to complicate the legal process involved in obtaining a judgment.

That having been said, community property laws are unique to each state regarding spousal liability for debt. Accordingly you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who can review the details of your situation and advise you as to your rights and responsibilities.


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