Texas is a community property state, what that means is that you and your spouse are liable for all debts incurred within the marriage.
Let's take a look at some possible scenarios:
- My spouse incurred $20,000 in debt for a Porsche he purchased on our 2nd wedding anniversary. Now the vehicle finance company is suing us because he stopped making payments 12 months ago. Can the finance company name me as a responsible party in the lawsuit? YES! Since Texas is a community property state, you and your spouse are responsible for any debt incurred during the course of the marriage, even if the debt is for a purchase used primarily by your spouse.
- My spouse has $45,000 in student loans that existed before we got married. She has fallen behind on her payments and the student loan lender is threatening to garnish her wages and seize our bank accounts. Can I be held liable for payment on these student loans? NO! Community property laws only make you responsible for debts that were created during the marriage not those that were created before the marriage. The student loan creditors might be able to garnish your spouse's wages; but they would not be able to seize your money that's in a jointly held bank account.
- My spouse and I have a joint credit card account with a $12,000 balance. We both have charges on this credit card and we have an agreement that we will each pay 50 percent of the monthly payment. My spouse has failed to make his half of the payment for the past 6 months. Will I be held liable for late payments even though I've been making my payments? YES! A matter of fact, even if the credit card account was only in your spouse's name, you would be held liable for payments under the community property laws of Texas if that debt was incurred during the marriage.