– from Teresa Y. in Dousman, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I are getting divorced. Before we begin filing any paperwork, we are discussing the division of our marital estate. He is claiming that it doesn't matter if the debts accrued are a part of his business; they are my debts, too. He is also filing for bankruptcy. My question is, am I partly responsible for my husband's business debts?

Family Law Attorney Response:

There are several factors that may alter the court's ruling. This would include your interest in the business, and other factors.

If you have no interest in your husband's business, you may not be held responsible for its accrued debt.

In the case of Lumby v. Lumby, 116 Wis. 2d 347, 341 N.W.2d 725 (Ct. App. 1983), a situation occurred where the husband's business debts were excluded from the marital estate. However, this was arguably an error. Ultimately, both the husband and the wife declared bankruptcy, and the debt was deemed invalid anyway. Your case, however, is unique and the circumstances of your marriage will lead to the decision.

My advice is to contact a family law attorney right away in order to begin preparing for the divorce process, and to receive the most accurate information.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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