#4 We Have a Post Marital Agreement — Does That Change Anything?

07 Dec #4 We Have a Post Marital Agreement — Does That Change Anything?

#4 We Have a Post Marital Agreement — Does That Change Anything?

debt-definition-300x199This continues the series “I’m Filing, My Spouse Isn’t-What Happens?” The series is introduced here.

After you are married, you may reach an agreement about who will be responsible for this or that expense or debt, or maybe who will get ownership of this or that piece of property, etc.

Think of this as a contract between you and your spouse, and it may, indeed, bind the two of you. However, do your creditors know of it and its details? If they don’t know of it and you are both seemingly or actually involved in a transaction, how are your creditors to know of the private agreement between the two of you?  Would they have lent you that money if they had known your intention that only one of you would be responsible for paying it back? 

Think of it from that perspective – if a creditor has reason to think both of you are or could be responsible (which can be a safe bet for some transactions in a community property state especially), your private, post marital agreement won’t necessarily bind the creditor.  If you think a debt is owed by the other spouse and not by you, be careful – the creditor may argue that you have wrongfully characterized the debt.

Earlier posts in this series are #1 Must the Non-Filing Spouse’s Information Be Disclosed?, #2 What if My Spouse’s Assets Are Separate – Must They Be Disclosed?, #3 We Have a Premarital Agreement — What Does That Mean?

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

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