How do I avoid being responsible for my husband’s debt?

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How do I avoid being responsible for my husband’s debt?

My husband hasn’t worked in over a year and has racked up around 20k in credit card debt. Is there anyway that I

can avoid being legally responsible for the debt? He opened all the cards in his name.

Asked on June 1, 2017 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

CA is a "community property" state which means that the community estate is liable for the debts of either spouse. Therefore, jointly held assets and wages can be used to satisfy your husband's creditors, even if the credit cards are soley in his name; the community estate is liable for the debts that either spouse brings to the marriage as well as the debts incurred during marriage. However, while the community estate may be liable for your husband’s debts, you aren't personally liable for them. This means that his creditors can’t reach your separate property or property that you acquire after should your marriage end. Therefore, if you divorce there is no liability for most debts incurred by your spouse, so your husband’s debts won’t follow you after the marriage unless the divorce documents provide for otherwise. 


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