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if a husband has a business debt does the wife have to take responsibility to pay it off?

Beautiful.....I have a question. Is this particular debt in BOTH of your names, or JUST his?? If the debt is in BOTH names, it's BOTH of your responsibility to pay it. If JUST in his name, this is HIS debt.

Sub: #1 posted on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 10:04

sdchargers_63 sdchargers_63

(Posts: 1798 | Credits: 179.17)

Doesn't it depend on whether you live in a community property state? I have always wondered that myself. My husband had his own business too which I wasn't listed on any of the financials so therefore I wasn't liable for them, but I don't live in a community property state.


Sub: #2 posted on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 18:47

ladybug ladybug

(Posts: 2757 | Credits: 282.44)

I think Ladybug is right. I live in WI and both are responsible for the debt. You cannot get credit or a loan without the spouse being contacted. So it depends on you states laws about this.

Sub: #3 posted on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 20:35

puddlejmpr puddlejmpr
(Posts: 1634 | Credits: 74.81)

Exactly right--and it would be good information to have if we had a list of the community property states available on the forums. I know that California is one for starters. Any others?

Sub: #4 posted on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 20:39

kscornell kscornell
(Posts: 4409 | Credits: 473.19)

Yes it does depend on which state you live in. Some states keep the husband and wife completely separate unless both names are on a debt, whereas others like Wisconsin go for both. Whenever you fill out a credit application, if you live in WI you have to fill out both yours and your spouse's information. Kind of stinks in a way.

Sub: #5 posted on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 20:42

Billysgirrrl Billysgirrrl

(Posts: 130 | Credits: 31.69)

Here is the list of nine community property states.

* Arizona
* California
* Idaho
* Louisiana
* Nevada
* New Mexico
* Texas
* Washington
* Wisconsin

Sub: #6 posted on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 04:09

fatb88 fatb88

(Posts: 218 | Credits: 15.91)

So, question to you all.
I know my husband has debts...
I used to live in California with my husband. Now I relocated to New York. I don't know where he is at.
Does this community property apply where we CURRENTLY reside?

Sub: #7 posted on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 04:14


Just wanted to note that, community property is really in relation to divorce decrees, not about fiscal responsibility during a marriage. If you think about it, the community property and equitable distribution distinctons, aside from tax and estate implications (such as others mentioned in terms of buying a house, applying for credit or whatever), do not come into play unless or until you get a divorce, otherwise, you don't hear about it. Don't think because you do not live in a community property state that you would be okay and that husband and wife's assets wouldn't be considered comingled. In many states that are not CP states, the assets of husband and wife are considered to be owned by both with a few exceptions.

Having said that. Your issue is tied more to Partnership and Corporation regulations in your state and what sort of business your husband had. Was it a sole proprietership, a partnership, a registered partnership, an LLP, or an LLC? There are other possibilities, but these are the most common.

If your husband's business was registered and if it was some type of a liability partnership, then you (and your assets) will likely not be responsible for your husband's debt. Otherwise, you might be, but that would only be after they tried to get whatever debts are owed from the business and any business partners. If your husband is insolvent, then you may be at risk of having to assume responsibility for the debts.

More importantly, and possibly more worrisome, is that if his business is not a limited liability business of some sort, any assets that you and your husband have in common (such as a home in both of your names) could be at risk (for instance, a lien could be placed against your home).

Again, if there is a liability business set up, then personal assets are usually left alone. However, if there is any sort of fraud or intentional tortious conduct relating to whatever led to the debts, then all bets are off.

*** Keep in mind that each state's community property laws are different (in some cases, very different).

Sub: #8 posted on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 04:44


The questions regarding living in California before and in NY now. All depends.

I'm not clear on whether you are still married to your husband, but that can make a difference. Generally speaking, the laws of the forum state would apply (which is New York). Now, for example, if you and your husband moved to NY in May, and he filed for divorce in June, then the laws of NY would likely not apply and CA laws would rule because this was an obvious attempt to circumvent the community property laws in CA (this happens more than you would likely think, you'd be surprised). If an ulterior motive seems present, especially when one states laws conflict with the state's laws you want to apply, then usually the the old state laws (for you, CA) would be appropriate. But, if you have lived in NY for several years married to your husband, then NY laws will usually apply.
(FYI, if kids are involved, this gets a bit trickier).

In the case of determining which jurisdiction's laws will apply, here are things that will contribute to making that determination - Are you still married? Were you married in CA and how long did you live there when you were married? How long have you lived in NY? Has your husband lived with you the entire time you have lived in NY? What kind of debt does your husband have? Was this debt acquired during your marriage (even if it was only in his name)? These are just a few things that will come into play.

Sub: #9 posted on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 05:12


My husband's business was set not up as a llc, but as a sole proprietership which has now become insolvent. I filed my bk before he filed his would that have had any effect on anything? :cry: My bk was discharged in 2003 and his was discharged in 2004 for him.


Sub: #10 posted on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 05:16


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