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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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. 


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