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Is the wife responsible for the husband's debt prior to marriage in oregon?

Medford, OR |

like a collection agency is after my bank account even though he's not on it for HIS past debt

Attorney Answers 1


Under Oregon law, a wife is normally not responsible for the debts of the husband incurred prior to marriage. The only exception to this would be in the wife "signed on the line" as a cosigner or guarantor for a subsequent husband's debt before they were married. If he had the debt in his name alone before you were married, then you do not become responsible for the debt just because you married. If you had a joint bank account with your husband, the collection agency could come after the funds in your account because they belong to him as well as you. Based on your question, however, I assume that this is not a joint account, and make my suggestion based on that assumption. I suggest that you write to the collection agency, certified mail, receipt requested, and explain to them that your husband incurred the debt before you were married, that you have no connection to the debt, and that your bank account is solely yours. Furthermore, I would request that, under the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they provide you with written evidence of the debt, and that they cease all collection efforts until this documentation is provided to you. In addition, I would tell them that if they attempt to garnish your account for a debt you are not responsible for, you will consider bringing legal action against them for unlawful garnishment, with a request for attorney fees and any damages you might be authorized by statute.

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