Am I responsible for my partner’s past debt ifwe decide to get married?

Non-community property state.

Asked on November 11, 2011 under Family Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

One spouse can't be held liable for any debts of the other spouse that were incurred before marriage. The fact is that in non-community property states there is no spousal liability for pre-marital debt. The only way that you would be liable for this debt is if you specifically agreed to be (e.g. as a co-signer of a loan). However, once you are married if your spouse's creditor(s) sue and are awarded judgement(s), then your assets as well as any joint assets (to the extent that they are non-exempt) would be at risk. Accordingly, keep your bank accounts and other assets separate.

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