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Under what circumstances would I be responsible for my girlfriends debt if I were to ask her to marry me?

Wisconsin Rapids, WI |

I am about two years from retiring. My girlfriend and her ex-husband are paying off a substantial debt. They both struggle financially, but do seem to be making their payments. If we were to get married and they were not able to make their payments would I then be responsible in any way for the prior debt of my new wife while on a fixed retirement income.

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Attorney answers 2


Maybe/Kind of...
This can be a complicated question. It very much requires knowing who you are worried about.
If you are worried about the creditor, then half your income (without a prenup) is hers, so they could come after you for half of your income.
If you are worried about a divorce (without a prenup) anything in the marriage that was not a gift or inheritance is presumed marital assets. You have to argue to keep that from happening. THe longer the marriage the worse that gets. Maintenance is another issue because her expenses are part of the equation for how much maintenance you might pay. Again this is a length of marriage issue.
SO... I would suggest that you get and maintain a prenup before you two get married.
In the alternative, have her go bankrupt before you two marry. That would clean the slate.
The best thing is to go see a local attorney and get their take on this. It is very important.

WALWORTH, ROCK and JEFFERSON County Divorce/Family Law Attorney - Atty Richard Missimer does answer questions on Avvo strictly to be helpful but these do not constitute legal advice. These answers do not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you would like my help and are within my practice area, contact me at (262)565-8200 for a FREE CONSULTATION.


I agree completely with Attorney Missimer.

I wanted to add that if you would like to talk to an attorney about this, my office in Wisconsin Rapids offers free consultations.

In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. You should seek counsel in your geographic area regarding any specific questions.