When my fiance and I marry, will I be responsible for his past debts?

We live in Michigan. He owes 10,000 in
back child support and has
approximately 3,000 in other debt.
I’m concerned at tax time when I
usually receive a 5,000 refund. Do we
have to file our taxes together?

Asked on April 26, 2016 under Family Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) No, you don't have to file your taxes together; you can file them as "married but filing separately."
2) No, you do not become personally responsible for his past debts; however:
a) creditors could go after his share of jointly owned property (e.g. his share of a joint bank account; put a lien on a jointly owned home; etc.); and
b) Often, when a married couple looks to make a large purchase or lease, both of their credit histories are reviewed--to the extent he has outstanding unpaid debts or bad credit, that will indirectly hurt you, when trying to make such a large purchase or lease.

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