Q. My Husband is being sued for a business debt. I am not named in the lawsuit. Am I still liable?
Cindy, Morro Bay, CA
A. You do not need to be named in a lawsuit against your husband to collect a debt incurred by him prior to separation in order to be liable at least to the extent of your interest in the remaining community property. This debt includes any type of claims against him (e.g., a contractor being sued for defective workmanship or a lawyer being sued for malpractice).
However, your separate property cannot be held liable for such a debt, or even for "necessaries of life", unless you are named and joined in the proceedings. You may have reimbursement rights against your Husband or the community in such event.
Please see other blog answers under the "Debt" category for more information.
Author: Thurman W. Arnold III