If I have been married for 6 months and my husband and his father purchased a condo before we were married, am I responsible for it?

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If I have been married for 6 months and my husband and his father purchased a condo before we were married, am I responsible for it?

I live in a community property state. I am not sure if I should list the condo as property on the divorce papers.

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Many community property states have a similar concept that applies to debts-- almost like a community debt.  The same idea applies--anything aquired during the marriage becomes the obligation of both.  Generally speaking, a debt that was incurred before a marriage is not the responsibility of the other spouse.  However, several factors could change that determination.  For example, if your father-in-law helped your husband purchase the condo as a gift for both of you and both your names were on the title-- and you accepted the gift, then you could be responsible for it.  If community funds were used to pay for the condo, then there may be an issue of co-mingled funds, and you could be entitled for reimbursement for those payments in the final divorce.  Even if the property is seperate property without any other circumstances, you still want to list it in the petition and request the court to confirm the property as his seperate property.  This will keep creditors off of you in the future.  It can also be a factor in the division of property--- if you want your current home and your husband has a condo to live in, the court could that factor into consideration in awarding you the home to live (since he has another place to stay.)  Even if you decide to do this divorce without an attorney, you should at least have a consultation with an attorney about this issue and any other property matters.  They can review the documents and give you a more firm decision on whether the property is community property and some pointers on how to properly list the it in a final decree of divorce.


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