Can a wife be held responsible for a husband’s pre-marital debts?

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2011

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Can a wife be held responsible for a husband’s pre-marital debts?

My husband has over 100k in student loan debt which was incurred before we were married. He has already deferred payments but is still unable to pay. Can my wages be garnished?

Asked on June 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No a wife cannot be held liable for her husband's pre-marital debt and have her wages garnished. The fact is that in MO (as in other non-community property states) there is no spousal liability for pre-marital debt (unless you were also on the debt or in some way agreed to assume this debt).  However, once you are married if your husband's creditor(s) sue, win, and are awarded judgement(s), then his assets as well as any joint assets (to the extent that they are non-exempt) will be at risk.   So keep your bank accounts and the like separate.

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