What canI do to protect myself from my husband’s debts?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2011

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What canI do to protect myself from my husband’s debts?

Married for little over a year now. Husband has a lot of credit card debt that is from on-line commodity trading that I wasn’t aware of until just this month. These are in his name only. We have only a joint household account, otherwise he has his own accounts as do I. I previously have a condo which he moved into and pays me a monthly fee. Last year filed income tax married but filing separately. Second marriages for both. What can I do to protect myself?

Asked on February 18, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Iowa


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Basically, you need to keep completely separate in your financial affairs.  So no joint bank accounts, credit cards, or any other non-exempt assets.  The fact is that basically the only time that a spouse can be held legally responsible for another spouse's debts is if they specifically agree to be.  Also, in some jurisdictions, a spouse can be held liable for another spouse's medical bills or other such necessary expenses.  Absent that, you should be safe for any of your husband's creditor's claims.  

That having been said, it would still be advisable to consult with a local attorney or accountant directly, and go over your the details of your specific situation.  Have them advise you as to how best to protest your assets both now and in the future. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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