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Can I use a prenup to protect against having to assume responsibility for debt liability that my fiance brings to the marriage?

Los Angeles, CA |

My fiance has credit card, car loan and collage loan debt that will be with him for some time. (We also have very different ideas on responsible spending) I am trying to find out if, in the case something happens and he dies or is otherwise unable to pay these debts, if I can protect myself from being responsible for his debts. I don't know how to start talking to him about this without knowing what my options are, so I am hoping for a bit of help and information here. THANK YOU!!!

Two additions - This is California specific, since it is a Community Property state. And, I assume this falls within the question, but just in case - when I say "these debts" I really mean both debts before and during the marriage. All debts he has or may incur.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Yes, assets, debt, and future spousal maintenance are the issues most typically found in prenuptial agreements.

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  2. With respect to community debts, i.e., those incurred during the marriage, you cannot insulate yourself form liability for debts he has incurred because the community is liable for those debts. For certain community debts, even your separate property may be at risk. A prenuptial agreement can only affect your rights between each other; it cannot affect your rights with respect to third party creditors. However, you will find some measure of protection if all credit cards, etc., are solely in one name or the other and under the probate laws if he passes before you. Differences regarding finances is a major reasons couples quarrel. Your best option -- don't get married.

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  3. You can protect yourself from his spending if done with a prenuptial agreement and how you handle all of your financial affairs after the date of marriage.

    Do to not having all facts this answer is not legal advice. An appointment with our firm is required before we make any legal opinions.

  4. Yes, absolutely a prenup can accomplish this. In fact, I highly recommend it, given the situation you describe. it is the ONLY way to make sure you are not responsible for any of his spending habits. The ONLY way.

    The issue will be if he will agree to the prenup and if you will want to pay the cost of a properly done prenup. dome right they are not cheap-- and the reasons for this may not be "intuitively obvious to the causal observer."

    Good luck.

    Ms. Straus (aka Carroll) may be reached at 800-400-8978 during regular business hours, Pacific Time, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Straus’ responses to questions posted on Avvo are intended as helpful information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are not to be relied upon as a final legal opinion. It may not be what you wished to hear, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Straus is licensed to practice law in California. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, and retain him or her. Me Straus provides “unbundled” services if you need specific assistance with a specific issue.

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