Dallas, TX asked in Family Law for Texas

Q: How do i protect myself against debts my husband owed before we were married that I had no knowledge of?

It was a judgment from back child support that he owed. Now his ex is suing again but trying to include me in the lawsuit.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Here are some ways you can protect yourself from your husband's premarital debts in Texas that you had no knowledge of:

- File a Declaration of Separate Property with the court clearly stating these debts belonged solely to your husband before marriage and you have no responsibility for them.

- Make sure you do not comingle any joint marital assets or income with your husband's separate finances used to pay these debts. Keep your finances segregated.

- Do not make any payments towards the debts yourself. This could be construed as assuming liability.

- Have an attorney respond to the lawsuit on your behalf asserting you are not a proper party to the case since the debts predate your marriage. File a motion to dismiss yourself from the lawsuit.

- During discovery, produce records like tax returns and bank statements proving you kept your earnings and accounts separate from your husband's.

- If needed, be prepared to testify you had no knowledge of the debts and did not agree to be responsible when you married. Prenuptial agreements can also help establish this.

- Consult with a family law attorney to understand all defenses available to you and ensure you take the proper legal steps to avoid liability. The key is proving the debts were solely your husband's.

Following these steps should help insulate you from responsibility for debts you did not know about and properly separate your financial interests from your husband's.

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Your husband's ex will lose trying to sue you personally for your husband's back child support debt.

But, be aware that your husband's ex can seize not only your husband's separate property but also your joint management community property and your husband's sole management community property to satisfy his debt.

Your personal earnings from your personal work, as well as any income generated from your personal separate property, are your sole management community property. Be sure to keep that money in a separate bank account solely in your name and not to commingle it with any of your husband's personal earnings or any joint funds.

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