If my wife has debt from her first marriage, now that we are married does that debt also become mine?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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If my wife has debt from her first marriage, now that we are married does that debt also become mine?

When my wife divorced her 1st husband he was awarded a boat and the loan that went with it. He defaulted and filed Chapter 13, so the debt is now on my wife’s credit report. We didn’t know about this until we went to purchase a house and because of this she was not put on the loan. However she is on both the warranty deed and mortgage deed. Because her name is on the deeds does this mean that the creditor could put a lien on the property or come after me for the money if something was to happen to my wife?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Vermont


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country an obligation incurred by a person pre-marriage does not become the obligation of the person that later marries him or her with the pre-existing debt. However, in most states, one-half (1/2) of the marital estate in such a situation is obligated for the pre-marriage debt.

If your wife is on legal title to your home presently and if the lender on the boat decides to file a lawsuit against her and obtains a judgment against her, an abstract of judgment can be recorded on your jointly owned home for payment of the judgment owed by her with respect to her ownership interests in your home.


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