Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Rhode Island


when one partner has debt, does it follow that person into marriage and then attach to the spouse

Asked on 5/02/07, 4:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jules D'Alessandro D'Alessandro & Wright

Re: debt

No the debt does not automatically attach to the other spouse. In fact if the creditor were to sue to collect the debt they could not sue the non-debtor spouse unless and until they could produce a document signed by the non-debtor spouse in the form of a promissory note or a request for credit privileges. However, I have seen where a judgment is obtained against one spouse and joint property like a bank account is attached. Thereafter the non-debtor spouse has to prove that they in fact have an interest in the joint account. I have also seen where a judgment against one is filed against jointly held real-estate. This is usually found during a sale or refinance and by that point it ends up being paid out of convenience sake. The best way to handle debt is to deal with it as soon as possible, generally it never goes away and it continues to grow until paid or discharged in bankruptcy.

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Answered on 5/03/07, 12:18 pm

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