Can I be held responsible for a debt my current wife incurred prior to marriage?

In LA.

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Family Law, Louisiana


Betsy Fischer / Betsy A. Fischer LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In Louisiana, debt existing prior to the marriage would be considered the separate debt of the spouse who incurred it.  That debt would not be considered part of the "community."  That debt would belong to the spouse who incurred it. 

If community funds were utilized to pay the separate credit card debt of a spouse, the other spouse would have a reimbursement claim against the spouse whose debt it is at the time the commuity property is partitioned.


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that is no, a spouse cannot be held liable for pre-marital debts. However, LA is a community property state. And, in community property states one spouse typically assumes liability for the other spouse's pre-marital debt.  

That having been said, many creditors do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses as doing so tends to complicate the legal processes involved in obtaining a court ordered judgment. However, they could so, your non-exempt assets could be at risk.

At this point, you should speak to an attorney to have your rights./esponsibilities more fully explained to you. The specific law on such debts varies somewhat from-state to state.

Since community property laws are unique to each state regarding spousal liability, you should consult directly with an attorney in your state who can review the details of your situation and advise you accordingly.

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