My husband took out a home equity loan on the home he owned before we were married. I was not ever on the title or anything.

Asked over 2 years ago - Phoenix, AZ

The house had been foreclosed on and husband no longer owns it. The bank made me sign for the equity loan since he was married. He owes 100,000 on equity loan and has no idea if they are coming after him or not for it. He may file bankruptcy. We are now getting a divorce and husband says i am liable for half the loan and wants to use that as bargaining issue in divorce. Am I liable for the loan on a house that was my husband's personal property? I do not think it was right for the bank to make me sign but at the time i didnt question it, now i wish i did.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Robert H Nagle

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, signing important legal documents without an attorney oftentimes leads to significant problems. Did your husband have an attorney advising you both when you signed the note? Another potential problem (and bargaining point with your husband) is that you are likely jointly and severally liable with your husband on the note. What this means is that if he declares bankruptcy, it is likely the bank will look to you for 100% of the debt! However, in response to his assertion that you owe just half, I would reply that together you owe 100%, but that when it comes to dividing the assets, it was a debt that he solely benefited from so he needs to pay it or get rid of it any way he wants. While it is true that as between you and your husband, on the one hand, and the bank on the other, you both owe 100%, it doesn't mean that between you and your husband that you do, and you (and your divorce attorney - please let me know if I can refer you to one) needs to push back, tell him he can deal with that 100% anyway he wants, and that he should indemnify you for any monies the bank gets from you. You're in a tough spot, but, you do have options. Just don't repeat the first mistake (signing legal documents without attorney review) again by not using a lawyer for your divorce.

    Accessing this website or receiving an electronic transmission from Nagle Law Group, P.C., or any specific... more
  2. Steven Anderson Leahy


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortuneately, if you signed the promissory note, you promised to pay the loan back and can be held liable.

    I hope this helps
    Steven A Leahy

    Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-... more
  3. Jody Lynn Peskin

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm not licensed to practice in AZ, but in Georgia, a good divorce attroney would be able to make the argument to the judge that your spouse, not you benefitted from the home equity line, especially if it happened right before he filed for divorce. Although I agree that you are probably jointly and severally liable for the entirety of the note, a judge cand emand that your husband hold you harmless, and require that he take on that debt in full, and if he fails to do so and the lender comes after you, you can ask the judge to hold him in contempt - even if he does file bankruptcy.

    Also, the judge may consider the debt as marital debt, especially if any of the funds were used to benefit the marital home or pay for any debts of the marriage. A judge may divide up the remaining marital assets and debts keeping in mind your husband's actions and threats about leaving you hanging high and dry, too. A good divorce attorney will be able to use this debt to your benefit in tryong to settle the matter in the same way that your husband is trying to use this debt to frighten or upset you. Also, once you have counsel, you can tell your husband he can no longer discuss the divorce with you, but must contact your attorney. That may reduce his threats or claims and keep you from being harrassed unnecessarily.

    This is not intended to be legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If more information is needed,... more

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