Now that I am married, will my spouse be held responsible if I walk away from some real estate that I own?

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2011

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Now that I am married, will my spouse be held responsible if I walk away from some real estate that I own?

I reside in AZ; sole owner of condo in WA.

Asked on August 23, 2011 Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Not directly; but possibly indirectly.

Not directly in that if you are the sole owner, especially if you bought it prior to the marriage, your spouse is not responsible for your debt--his or her personal income or assets are not subject to creditors.

Indirectly, though, in that anything you jointly own is something a creditor could potentially reach. So if the two of you jointly own a home, and the mortgagor of the condo sues you for any unpaid balance on the loan, a lien could potentially be placed on your joint home. Similarly, at least a portion of a joint bank account--your share of it--could potentially be garnished by the condo's lender if you are sued and the lender wins.

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 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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