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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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