Dope-marital debts become the responsibility of a spouse upon marriage?

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Dope-marital debts become the responsibility of a spouse upon marriage?

I have over $100,000 in student loans and $15,000 in credit card debt that I am currently paying off. I am worried that if I get married, and got forbid something happens to me, that my wife will be left with that debt. I want to be 100% sure that this will not be the case. All the debts and loans were acquired years before I even met my fiance. I just want to protect her.

Asked on December 22, 2010 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I commend you for thinking ahead about all of this.   However, your future wife cannot be held accountable for your pre-marital debts (unless she legally agrees to be ). Liability for pre-marital debt does not attach to a non-debtor spouse.  However, that having been said, if you default in your payments and your creditors sue, win, and are awarded judgements, then your individual assets as well as your joint assets will be at risk (unless they are non-exempt).  So keep your bank accounts and the like separate.  If you should die and owe any creditors, the your wife will not be liable but your estate will be.  So indirectly your spouse could be affected.

Note:  The above is also true for any sole debt that you incurr during your marriage.


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