If I marry a man who has debt, can my assests be attached?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2011

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If I marry a man who has debt, can my assests be attached?

My fiance, age 66, and ex-wife have been trying to sell their TN home for 2+ years. It now in foreclosure/short sale. Can their lender lien my 401k if we marry? I live in WA.

Asked on August 19, 2011 Washington


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are so smart to ask this question.  I guess you are concerned because Washington State is a community property and community debt state, correct?  You should seek help from a financial planner before you marry maybe to structure your assets better.  Generally speaking, if there is a deficiency judgement against your husband they can not attach your asset in your name just because you are married.  However, they can attach joint account and joint tax refund money so in essence you can not escape his debt forever.  He should ask the bank if he and his ex can do a deed in lieu of foreclose and will they waive the deficiency.  That is where he should get the help.  Good luck.

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