Many debtors who plan to get married want to rush and file bankruptcy before the ceremony because they fear that they will end up saddling their future spouse with their debt obligations. The truth of the matter is that marriage alone is not enough to make another person responsible for their spouse’s debts incurred before marriage.
There are only a couple of ways that a person can become responsible for the debts of their spouse:
- They sign a contract agreeing to be responsible for the repayment of their spouse’s pre-marital debts.
- If some law makes them responsible for their spouse’s debts.
For example, there is a law that is part of Family Law code in Texas called the “necessaries doctrine” which states:
“Each spouse has the duty to support the other spouse. Each parent has the duty to support his or her child during the period that the child is a minor, and thereafter as long as the child is fully enrolled in an accredited secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma until the end of the school year in which the child graduates. A spouse or a parent who fails to discharge the duty of support is liable to any person who provides necessaries to those to whom support is owed.”
But the “necessaries doctrine” usually comes up with debts incurred after the marriage. For example if your spouse had a necessary medical procedure and was unable to pay, then you would become responsible for paying that debt. However, filing for bankruptcy may be beneficial before marriage for reasons other than your fear that your future spouse will be responsible for your pre-marital debts.
If you would like to ask us a question regarding bankruptcy we would be more than happy to help. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.