Skip to main content

Financial liablity for penalties and restitution awarded against my spouse? If the crime occured prior to our meeting

San Diego, CA |

My wife is being charged with a Federal white collar crime and she is concidering a plea deal. If she accepts a plea deal and is awarded financial damages, can I be held liable to repay those damages because we are married at the time of her sentencing? The alledged crime took place before we even met and I have zero involvement it the commision of any part of these charges. We have no communal assets and she is unemployed.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. No this is her debt.

    Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at

  2. You can not be held responsible for the damages unless you voluntarily assume liability, which you would be foolish to do. Good Luck, Paul Neuharth 619-231-0401

  3. California is a Community Property state. Under California's community property guise you would likely not be held liable for your wife's alleged crimes that took place before your relationship, unless, like counsel stated, you voluntarily assumed liability for the damages, which you have likely not done.

    Hyde & Swigart is a law firm concentrating its efforts in the area of consumer law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”), and California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, California Civil Code §§ 1788-1788.32 ("Rosenthal Act"). Our lawyers are specially trained in the Federal FDCPA, Consumer Defense, and other consumer related matters. Our goal is to protect you against unfair, deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. Creditors, professional debt collectors, and attorneys who violate the law are subject to paying damages, statutory penalties, and the consumer's attorneys fees and costs. If you feel you have been abused, deceived or treated unfairly, you may need a lawyer. We can be reached at 619-233-7770, or through one of the evaluation forms on this site.

  4. All indications are you should be OK given the fact the offense(s) predated your marriage.

    Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555

  5. I'd have to agree with the others based on the info you provided, no.

Federal crime topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics