What legal risk do I have if I marry someone who has children and they cause someone an injury, etc.?

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What legal risk do I have if I marry someone who has children and they cause someone an injury, etc.?

I’m not asking about anything related to child support, etc. My concern is what is my liability as it relates to the children directly. Example, if 1 of the kids were to knock another kid down and cause significant injury, can I be sued and are my assets at risk? If the children are not mine can I be sued for actions related to them? If they were to occur serious medical bills (not under my insurance) can the creditors come after me because I am married to their legal parent? How do I protect myself and my assets? I’m shocked I am unable to find much on the web about step-parent’s liability/risks especially given all the 2nd marriages in the US.

Asked on January 31, 2016 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you do not adopt or become the legal guardian of the children, technically, you are not directly liable for their acts. That said, that may be cold comfort is there is some tortious liability (e.g. attacking another child) and the family is sued and a lien is placed on the marital home, or money taken from joint bank accounts, or a car seized, or your husband's income garnished, etc. His share of marital property and his income are at risk, and that can clearly impact you.


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