My spouse has accumulated an enormous amount of loans in her name am I liable? 30 Answers as of August 05, 2011

My spouse has gone out over the last 8 years and accumulated signature loans to a very large amount - in divorce am I liable for these debts as they were done without my knowledge?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You could argue the debts were not for the benefit of the marriage.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Loans taken out by either party during marriage are community debts. Both parties are liable for community debts.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/22/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
Generally, you could be responsible for all or part of them. But if they were a complete secret and the family unit did not benefit from them, you can argue as to why they should be hers alone.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/20/2011
Osterman Law LLC
Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
There are 2 lines of argument: (1) did you help spend the money; (2) was the money used to help the family or for her medical expenses. Common law says a spouse is obligated to assist in medical bills. If borrowed for that then you are on the hook for half. If you used the moneygot a new car, computer, etc., the you owe for what you got. She got you a Rolex, then you owe for the Rolex. Good Luck!
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/20/2011
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
Property/debt division is negotiable for various reasons. It can be argued, including what the loans were used for - marital purpose or not.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 7/19/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    No, you can request that those debts remain her responsiblility. You need an attorney to protect your rights and make sure you do not pay for more than what you owe (her debts).
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You could be. You need to understand that the Courts consider a marriage a partnership. Anything acquired during the marriage is marital property regardless of whether you knew about it or not. If your spouse has built up such debt, you better get out before it gets any worse. This e-mail is covered under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 USC 2510-2521, and is legally privileged. The information contained in this e-mail is intended only for use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible to deliver it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You are potentially liable for any debt that was incurred during the marriage, whether you knew about it or not. However, if you did not receive any benefit from any of these loans, you may have an argument against having any liability. I strongly suggest consulting with an experienced family law attorney in your area to assist you and properly advise you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    To the bank or loan company, no, but they may be equitably distributed if used in the marital relationship.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    Anything accumulated during the course of marriage is subject to equitable division. Equitable division, however, does not necessarily mean equal division. Whether a Court would require you to be responsible for the debts is dependent on the circumstances under which they were acquired.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Maybe. But what you really need is a consultation with qualified family law counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    If you signed for them - or benefited from them, you may be liable. 401 Divorce
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    In a divorce, a court will have to determine how to divide all debts and assets accumulated by either party during the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Maybe. it depends upon the phrasing in each of the loans and whether you signed on as a co-borrower. It also depends upon the purpose of the loans; whether they were used to sdustain you withbasic food and clothing or whether they were used for your medical care. Gather up the documents and take them to an attorney for a more specific answer.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    If the loans were acquired during the marriage and the money was used to benefit the community you would be liable for of the amount owed. In order to determine what would be considered to be for the benefit of the community, you would need to produce documentation of the loans as well as what the money was used for.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Yes, you likely are liable as it is a marital debt. There are some limited ways around these debts depending on what the funds were used for. . I suggest you consult a local Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You need a smart lawyer to keep this from causing real problems for you. I can help you with this. And I will tell you up front what it will cost to do this for you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    It depends. There simply is not enough enough information to answer your question presented since I don't know whether or not you benefited from the money borrowed. That said, there is community property but there really is not such thing as community debt. You are not liable per se, but again there are circumstances in which you could be ordered to pay a portion of the money - though these lenders are not part of the divorce and they cannot sue you directly if that is what you are asking. You have no contractual liability to the lenders, the question is whether or not the Judge will make your equitably liable to your wife for a portion of the debts.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    This is a community property state and for the most part debts incurred by one spouse are the obligation of both spouses. There are a few exceptions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    This is a complicated issue that deserves the attention of a skilled family law attorney in an office consultation. With that being said, common debt accumulated during the marriage (whether acquired together or individually) is treated as a community liability. Just like a business partnership, you are responsible for each other's debts. If your spouse is squandering community resources such as credit and incu rring debt in an irresponsible way, that behavior could be construed by the court as a breach of her fiduciary duty of proper management. The court in a situation like this award that debt entirely to your spouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Unless a creditor attempts to pursue a "family necessities" theory against you based on what the loans are for, generally you have no liability to the creditor; at least until you are sued and a court rules against you. As between you and your spouse, however, the presumptive starting point is that those loans are marital debt if they were incurred during the marriage. The fact that they are in her name alone is only one of the factors that a court would consider in deciding how to allocate responsibility (between you and your spouse) for some or all of that debt. The fact that you did not know of one or more is not, by itself, dispositive. But, that would certainly suggest that there was no marital purpose related to the money she borrowed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    The judge will make a fair and equitable division of your debts considering your financial futures and waste.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Division of liabilities will take into account the use of the funds so if any were used for household expenses there is the possibility you may be held responsible for a portion.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Any debt incurred during the marriage is presumed marital and capable of division. However, a party may argue that a debt was not marital if it was not incurred for the marital good and was incurred with out consent. That is often a difficult argument to make.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    While you are not necessarily liable for her individual debts just by virtue of the fact that you are married, an equitable division of the marital debt is very fact specific and you should discuss the specifics of these debts with an attorney to determine the likelihood of your being ordered to help repay this debt.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Gulstrom, Henson & Petrie, PC
    Gulstrom, Henson & Petrie, PC | Tami Monek
    Yes, but an argument may be made that your spouse should bear a disproportionate amount of those debts. As a general rule, all debts acquired during the marriage are presumed to be community in nature, and community debts should be "substantially equally." However, you may argue that "compelling reasons" exist justifying an award of debt whereby your wife would take more of the debt that was unknown to you. Your success in winning that argument depends upon the specific facts of your case and the proclivity of the Judge to look past the community presumption.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    If the debts were accumulated during the marriage, then, they are probably community debts. If you get divorced, the court is going to divide those debts up in some fashion. However, regardless of who the divorce court orders to pay the debts, if your spouse doesn't pay the debts that she is responsible, then, those creditors could come after you to collect their money. That is the general rule. Whether you fall into an exception to the rule would require much more detailed information and time spent with an attorney reviewing the facts in detail.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    To the extent they were incurred during the marriage they would appear to be community debts, so you would have at least some potential liability. You may want to talk to a debt attorney about this. It may help, however, that the loans were taken in her name only. In terms of a divorce, it is up to the court to determine how responsibility for paying the debts should be handled. Again, the fact that you were unaware of the debts may help. Keep in mind that in a divorce the court cannot take away any rights a creditor may have to collect, it can only order who should pay the debts. If one party is ordered to pay the debts but the other spouse ends up having the debts collected from him/her, then the spouse who ended up paying may have a right of reimbursement from the spouse who was supposed to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    There is a presumption that any debts that have accumulated during the marriage will be equally divided on divorce. To overcome that presumption, you will have to show that you did not know about the debts, that they were incurred for her own personal or business reasons and the family did not benefit from them.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/18/2011
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