If my ex-wife has an unpaid debt that has gone to collections and they are threatening to take her to court, do I have any liability?

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If my ex-wife has an unpaid debt that has gone to collections and they are threatening to take her to court, do I have any liability?

We have been divorced for 3 years now and the account was in her name only.

Asked on December 4, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the debt was incurred after separation with no intent to reunite or after divorce, the debt is your ex-wife's separate property and you are not liable.

If the debt was incurred during marriage, it may be difficult to prove that the debt is not community property which means both you and your ex-wife would be liable; however, you can argue that since the debt is in your ex-wife's separate account, that it is her separate property and you are not liable.

Community property is property acquired during marriage.  Community property also includes income and debt during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  Separate property also includes income and debt before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.


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