If I get married to someone who has unpaid credit card bills in collection,will they obligate me to pay as well?

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If I get married to someone who has unpaid credit card bills in collection,will they obligate me to pay as well?

Will this affect my good credit score that I currently have? In CA.

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Typically the answer in most states is no, a spouse cannot be held liable for the other spouse's pre-marital debt. However, CA is a community property state. Unfortunately as a general rule, in a community property state one spouse assumes liability for the others pre-marital debts.  As a practical matter, many creditors do not go to the trouble of suing both spouses because it tends to complicate the legal process involved in obtaining a judgment. But they could. Therefore, your assets could be at risk if it is non-exempt property under state law. And yes, this could affect your credit report.

Since community property laws are unique to each state regarding spousal liability, you should consult directly with an attorney in your state who can review the details of your situation and advise you accordingly.


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