If one is legally separated, are they financially responsible for the actions of their separated spouse?

I have a relative who is seeking to be legally separated from her husband. She is concerned that her assets may be pursued after separation if her husband fails to pay child support from a previous marriage (or makes other financially unsound decisions). Is she financially protected in a community property state?

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Family Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your friend is wise to be concerned about the future and her husband's dealings.  Generally speaking, once a party is legally separated or divorce ppers are filed the court sees this as a date certain of their marriage ending and any dealings after that are considered separate and apart from each other.  But that does not mean that there will not be trouble from creditors down the road.  Creditrs for his debt  - child support- can not technically come after her lalthough in reality anything jointly held can be attached.  So she needs to plan for "separateness" from the start. Good luck.

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