Anonymous asked in Family & RelationshipsMarriage & Divorce · 1 decade ago

am i responsible for debt that she accrued before marriage?

before we got married, she had appx. 8000 in credit card and 18000 in school debt. we accrued nearly none while married. am i responsible for her debt when we divorce? (again, all debt was before we said "i do", and in her name solely)


state of pennsylvania

19 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Not unless you refinance the debt into both of your names or ends up being mandated by the Court in a divorce settlement, but as long as you can prove they were incurred prior to marriage it is highly unlikely that would happen on pre-existing debt.

    Now debts incurred while married, even if were in her name only, would fall under the jurisdiction of the Court and stance would vary from State to State and division of marital assets and debt.

    In general, the debt belongs to who or whomever signed their name on the dotted line saying that they accepted responsibility for repaying that debt. This does not mean that unscrupulous collection companies may contact you and try to intimidate you into paying the debt; keep in mind many collection agencies are set up so that the collector gets a percentage or bonuses monies collected. Refuse to deal with them over the phone and request if they wish to contact you concerning the matter, it must be in writing...most back off a this point at there are laws to protect you and you can prove what they are doing if they put it in writing, not so over the phone.

    As credit bureaus are notorious for incorrectly listing individual debt debt as joint in error, you will want to get a copy of your credit report (there are numerous sites that you can do this online, some for free) and submit a dispute for each and every debt that is not your (debt that she incurred in her name only). The compan(ies) then have 30 days in which to submit proof that you are a party to the debt; if they don't the credit bureau has to take the reporting party off of your credit bureau report. Be diligent in following up right at the 30 day mark and continue to follow up until it is taken off.

    If you do own a home together, it is possible that if she defaulted on debt and was sued and did or does nothing to work it out, a default Judgment against the property for the amount plus attorney fees and Court Costs may or may have already been entered. This is a little stickier to clear up; legally, they cannot attach the Judgment if the debt was individual; however, many states now have it set up if a Judgment isn't paid in full over a mandated number of days, then a Default Judgment is automatically entered into the system and joint property is attached in could try contacting the Debtor or Attorney for the Debtor, but as it is not in their interest, they are unlikey to do anything to get it corrected without taking them to Court...on this you will likely need a lawyer.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    am against divorce so am glad there is a big barrier there for you to consider. Its heavy man! Do you really need to get divorced? Anyway this not the right time for this, probably made up ur minds.I think its logical that you would take responsibility for your family wealth, which would include assets accrued todate and liabilities incurred, so yes you should share the responsibilities of your wealth (good and bad).

    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Well never been married or divorced, but according to those silly court tv shows they have on, you marry her you marry her debt regardless of when it was incurred, maybe you should talk to your lawyer or at least seek legal advice for free. Good Luck

  • 1 decade ago

    I doubt very much that you are responsible for any debt incurred prior to marriage.

    However you may be held responsible for the interest it accrued since your marriage.

    I suggest you contact a lawyer. Different places have different laws.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Only when you are married, she is responsible for the debt once you are divorced. when you see your lawyer make sure he\she knows that the debt was hers before you married her, oh and bring papers showing that also,lawyers want everything paper that way one cannot deny who's dept it was, school loan is no problem her name is on the bottom line.

    Source(s): been there done that divorce with debt..
  • Susan
    Lv 4
    5 years ago


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Typically you marry a persons debt. Talk to your lawyer not us .

  • .
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    You'd need to check with someone with legal knowledge of your's possible you could be if PA is a community property state...

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Oh yeah.

    If you didn't have a pre-nup to say otherwise then it's seen to have become joint debt on marriage

  • Texan
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    When you get married you take on her debit. When you get a divorce you only take on her debit until the papers have been filed. She takes on your debit as well.

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