Would marriage expose my spouse to previous debt?

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Would marriage expose my spouse to previous debt?

We live in California and are moving to Arizona.

Asked on March 10, 2019 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In CA, the community estate can be held liable for any debt incurred by either spouse prior to or during the marriage, regardless of whether one or both spouses benefit from the debt. However, this does not include the earnings of the non-debtor spouse with regards to pre-marital debts. The separate property of a married person is not liable for a spouse’s debt incurred before or during marriage. That having been said, there is an exception. When the debt incurred by one spouse during marriage is incurred for the purpose of securing "necessities" (i.e . fodd, shelter, medical, etc.), then the non-debtor spouse is also personally liable for them as the spouses have a duty to support one another. This means that the non-debtor spouse’s separate property may used to repay the debt of their spouse in such a situation. 

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your spouse is not liable for your debt prior to marriage because that debt is your separate property. 
Separate property is debt, income, property prior to marriage.
Community property is debt, income, property during marriage. Your spouse has a one half interest in community property, but no claim to your separate property.


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