My boyfriend owes state and federal back taxes, if we marry can they take my assets or garnish me to pay them off?

UPDATED: Sep 4, 2012

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My boyfriend owes state and federal back taxes, if we marry can they take my assets or garnish me to pay them off?

Will I become responsible for the debts? We live in a community property state.

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Family Law, California


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, you cannot be held liable for a debt before you were married.  The issue usually arises, however, when two parties co-mingle their assets and accounts.  If you both put your money into the same account, and it's a joint account, then they could garnish that account because he has 100% access to all the co-mingled funds.  If you don't want your assets garnished, then make sure that you keep them in a seperate account to avoid any confusion of whose assets are whose-- at least until all of the tax debts are paid.

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