If my wife is found guilty of embezzlement and we buy a house in just my name, can the business put a lien against the house or in anyway prevent us from buying it?

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If my wife is found guilty of embezzlement and we buy a house in just my name, can the business put a lien against the house or in anyway prevent us from buying it?

Should we buy the house in my name alone and completely exclude her from being responsible for it? How can we buy it and protect it from repossession or liens or any legal action?

Asked on February 7, 2015 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In your state, buying the house in your name alone will not help you: any property acquired during marriage, unless it was gifted solely to one spouse by a 3rd party, was inherited solely one spouse, or is subject to a pre-nuptial agreement stating it will be one spouse's property only, is the property of both spouses. This is something of an oversimplification, but the critial point is that your wife will have a claim on or interest in the house, even if it's in your name only, and therefore her creditors will be able to reach the house. Furthermore, if you knew or suspected/had reason to believe that your wife committed embezzlement before you bought the house in your name only, the law would essentally ignore the fact that you tried to put it in your name only, seeing that as nothing more than attempt to hide assets from the state or creditors. Based on what you write, if you buy a house, it will be at risk.


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