Is a husband still responsible for his share of all joint debts if he walks out of the marriage?

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Is a husband still responsible for his share of all joint debts if he walks out of the marriage?

My husband recently walked out on our13 year marriage and left myself and my 9 year old son with autism. We do not own a home but we do rent and both of our names are on the lease. He insists that he isn’t responsible for half the rent (or half the utilities which are in both our names). He said he is only responsible for our “joint” debts which is the car insurance and IRS. I told him our lease is joint because both our names are on it. Who is right? If it was left for the courts to decide would he be responsible for half the rent?

Asked on June 3, 2011 under Family Law, Montana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation. You are correct that your Husband is also responsible for the lease and the utilities for the apartment until such time as a court orders otherwise.  I say the last part becuase  a court can order that he pay support (child and temporary spousal support) which you can use to pay the rent and utilities.Now, that does not get him of the hook with the landlord.  You are both responsible to him or her under the lease which is a contract.  So be careful as to that.  You need to get some help as soon as you can.  You have a son that will need support for all of his life and you need to make sure that you have an attorney that recognizes that.  Good luck to you all.


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