Q: Finances during separation
My husband and I are separated. He is VERY ill and I'm helping here and there when I can. He has kept the home and all the debts that come with. Some are in my name. If he can't get them out of my name, I was told to just bring my decree to show he is responsible. With him being ill, separation (not filed with the court) seems to be the current state of things for a while. 2 questions 1. Is there a way for me to ensure those debts get paid by him without having to take him to court? and 2. If something happens to him, I am still his wife. Will I have to fight his family for any retirement or the house, or final services, or is it all deferred to me automatically? I'm sorry, one other question... if he does pass, and he has someone else listed as his beneficiary, but we are still married... where do I stand?
A: If you have a debt that you are jointly responsible for, you are both responsible for it. The only way to change it is to get the lending institution to allow a change in responsible party. If he is not working and is very ill, that is not likely to happen. You could sign an agreement with him designating responsibility for the debts, but enforcing the terms of the agreement if he breaches, will certainly involve court.
As far as after death....there are many other questions that need to be answered first like (1) does he have a will (2) beneficiary of what...a life insurance policy, a trust etc.? (3) how much community property do you guys have (4) does he have children from another marriage etc.? I suggest seeing an attorney.
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