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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber

    May 31, 2006, 12:29 PM
    Am I Going To Legally Responsible For Her Debts?
    Hi Guys,

    I've been hooked up with a lady for over 12 years now and we're beginning to talk marriage. Problem is that she has a huge backlog of bills and debts while I own my home clear, have no outstanding bills and have a AAA credit rating.
    Question; If we got married would I be responsible for the debts she incurred while single? We're talking 1/2 a mill here. This would wipe me out. We both live in Florida. For those of you who might wonder why I would even wish to marry into a situation like that you can check her out by going to the Plumbing Page and clicking the thread." Where's The Partial Clog" and scrolling down to her picture. The picture should explain everything. Thanks for any advice. Tom aka "The Speedster".
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,298, Reputation: 5646

    May 31, 2006, 12:34 PM
    Tom, I believe you may be able to fall under the "Injured Spouse Act" which means that debt that occurred before marriage remains the sole responsibility of the original party. I know that works when income taxes are garnished. It worked with me. My hubby had a school loan that he took out 12 years before we met, the feds garnished our taxes. Our new accountant amended the taxes for those years and we were able to get my portion back.

    I am not sure if this "Act" works on other portions of debt, but I am sure an accountant can give you all the details.

    Try checking out he is great with this kind of situation.

    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    May 31, 2006, 03:00 PM
    I was married in GA to a wonderful lady who is a great musician but a lousy bookkeeper, I did not owe any of her IRS debts, but I had to file a injured spouse form each year to get my share of my refunds.

    Next my credit was/ is ruined, since once married, they view credit history jointly, even if I try to apply for individual credit they see I am married and look at hers also.

    In the end, she should have filed bankruptcy prior to our getting married, that would have cleared her debts and the only issue would have been IRS and bad credit.

    Can't speak for you, but I would say I would speak to an attorney prior to any I DO's.
    Dr D's Avatar
    Dr D Posts: 698, Reputation: 127
    Senior Member

    Jun 1, 2006, 08:49 AM
    Check to see if FLA is a Community Property state. In a worst case scenario, if yor lady continued to run up her debts and get new ones in her name only after the marriage, they might then be considered Community Debts even though you had signed nothing, and Community assets, such as the appreciation on your solely owned home from the time of marriage could be called to satisfy those debts. If it were me, I would postpone marriage until she gets her financial house in order. If I had married one of the two ladies that I had a long term (7-8 yrs) live in relationships with, I would probably be living in the back of my pick up truck today. I wish you the best.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
    Uber Member

    Jun 1, 2006, 02:44 PM
    Hello speedball:

    Dude! I checked her out - she's worth going broke over! However, there's a way to have your cake and...

    If you do nothing and none of her creditors sue her, her credit will be fine in 7 years. If not fine, then at least not bad. IF they sue her during your marriage, you'll probably get dragged in with the resultant negative dings on your credit. Even though you still both maintain your individual credit histories after marriage, it's going to be extremely difficult to keep your credit accounts separate. The Padres experience is common.

    I think her going bankrupt before you tie the knot is the simplest and cleanest solution. Afterwards, you can put her on as an authorized user of your credit cards (but YOU make sure YOU pay the bills), and her credit will be pristine again shortly.

    That said, I do think you should consult with an attorney. I mean, what do I know? I'm an exconvict for crying out loud.


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