Be Careful Who You Marry, You May Get Stuck with Their Debt

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Hey folks, Paul Seabrook from Seabrook Law. I’m just running over something I wanted to share with you guys.

So we get this question a lot. We do divorce work here in the Bay Area, and this happens a lot towards the end of the marriage. One of the things that will start happening is, one spouse will start to rack up some debts. And sometimes when the divorce begins to, you know, the proceeding begins and we start to get into what’s going to happen in the divorce, all of a sudden, you start looking at some credit card statements, or you start looking at some other debts that you maybe you didn’t know about, or maybe you did know about, and, and all of a sudden, you think you should be reimbursed for them. I want to share with you guys a case, the marriage of Stitt. This is a 1983 case. And this is where one spouse was actually held to, you know, held by the court to pay one of her debts she had actually embezzled from her employer. And it was during the marriage, and she ended up being sued by the employer. And they set a loan amount. And there were attorneys fees associated with that as well. And the wife tried to have the community pay the debt. And she argued that it was a community property debt. But the husband prevailed. And the husband argued that this was basically criminal conduct, and that the marriage did not benefit from this, okay? So the wife took all the money and kept all the money. And so in those facts, he was able to pin that debt on her.

Okay, now, it’s, it’s, you know, there’s been some rulings on these issues since then, you’re not going to get you know, if somebody’s been maybe a little imprudent with money during the marriage, and, and it’s just been ongoing and ongoing, then you’re going to kind of have to eat that cost, you’re not going to be able to you know— If somebody’s just an overspender and you married that person, you’re probably going to have to live with the consequences of those decisions. But if there’s definitely some criminal wrongdoing, or something that is just a complete violation of their duty to the community, then you can make the argument. Of course, if ever, you’re going to put these issues before the court, you got to factor in, how much is it going to cost you to present this issue to the judge and when, okay? Because you could lose two. So, you know, like, you know, I’m of the belief you ought to get out of family court as quickly as you can, as fast as you can, and let stuff go so you can get on with the new life, unless it’s a serious amount that, you know, forces you to litigate. Other than that, guys. Yeah, you know, the overspender is not going to have to pay it all back, okay? Careful who you marry. Paul Seabrook with Seabrook Law.

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