Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

Previous | Next
 rated by 0 users
Latest post 11-26-2008 11:41 AM by ca19lawyer2. 9 replies.
  • 11-24-2008 4:05 PM

    Question [=?] Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years. We are filing for divorce. My husband started a business, against my wishes, about 5 years ago. I have always been opposed of it, and I have always argued with him about purchases that he made for the business, and lines of credit that he obtained. My name was never on anything, not the business license, the website, business cards, any credit cards...nothing. It has always been "HIS" business and he has always rubbed that in. And that's always been fine with me, I didn't want to be a part of it.

    Well, now that we are getting divorced, I find out he has thousands of dollars of business related debt. And he says I get to pay half of it. Am I responsible to pay half of that?

    I have been a stay-at-home-mom for the last 5 years or so...and I am looking for a job, but there is no way I am going to be able to afford half of that debt, plus half the personal debt and take care of 4 kids on my own (even WITH child support)...it just doesn't seem like I can handle all that.

    I even told him that I would sign a contract, an agreement that if he didn't try to stick me with any of the business debt, then I wouldn't ask for any of the profit. No dice.

    Help! Am I S.O.L?? The way I see it, if it was HIS business and he never wanted me to be a part of it, (nor did I want to be) then it should be HIS resposibility to pay the debt.

    Thanks for any advice...
  • 11-24-2008 5:36 PM In reply to

    re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    WHy are you listening to him? You need to get your OWN lawyer to protect yourself.
  • 11-25-2008 11:26 AM In reply to

    re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    "And he says I get to pay half of it. Am I responsible to pay half of that?"

    Maybe. What is the entity form of the business? Sole proprietorship? Partnership? Corporation/LLC? Something else? GENERALLY, debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage are community debts for which both spouses are liable. You may have some arguments here, but we can't analyze the situation without all the facts.

    "there is no way I am going to be able to afford half of that debt, plus half the personal debt and take care of 4 kids on my own (even WITH child support)...it just doesn't seem like I can handle all that."

    You probably will get at least a few years of spousal support.

    "The way I see it, if it was HIS business and he never wanted me to be a part of it, (nor did I want to be) then it should be HIS resposibility to pay the debt."

    But that's not how the law sees it. When he chose to start this business over your objection, you could have left him then and there. I strongly suggest you consult a local divorce attorney.
  • 11-25-2008 12:30 PM In reply to

    re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    In California, some marital debts are divided equitably as opposed to equally, depending on who is in the best position to pay.

    Get an attorney to fight this issue...also, how's his tax situation? Know anything about that? He may owe and you may be responsible also, but keep in mind the irs's "innocent spouse" option.
  • 11-25-2008 1:03 PM In reply to

    Question [=?] re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    It is a sole proprietorship. I don't have the funds available to hire a lawyer, and I thought that him and I were agreeing on everything and so we wouldn't need lawyers...but now this is going on, so I guess I do need one.

    Another question...he has stopped his direct deposit, and wants me sign a paper to get me off of our joint checking account, but a friend said I shouldn't do that...should I or not? I have no job, no income, and no access to money now since he keeps the account empty anyways. Also he keeps giving me bills to pay that are in my name and says I have to pay half the cell phone bill, etc, but again, I have no income and we are still co-habitating. What are my rights? What are his responisibilites, if any, to me?
  • 11-25-2008 1:18 PM In reply to

    re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    Hmmm... bet your STBX is divorcing after 9 years because 10 years is considered a long term marriage, worth of spousal support. However, you will probably receive some anyway given your status of stay-at-home mom for 9 years.

    DON'T listen to anything he tells you to do; he doesn't have your best interests at heart and mind, obviously.

    Consult with an attorney (some have free consultations) asap and ask him/her to request the court make hubby pay your lawyer's fees as you aren't capable now under the circumstances. This happens all the time to prevent one spouse from taking advantage of the other.

    The attorney will probably be able to get you temporary support in the meantime. Good luck.
  • 11-25-2008 4:53 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 48,920

    re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    Laymans take:

    Stop taking his view of anything and get yourself counsel ASAP.

    Generally in CA you stand to get stuck with 1/2 the bad news as well as good news and I'll bet hubby has good news stashed away someplace and only bad news is up for a split.

    W/O solid counsel you are in position of Christians in Christians V Lions of ancient Rome!



  • 11-26-2008 11:38 AM In reply to

    re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    "he has stopped his direct deposit, and wants me sign a paper to get me off of our joint checking account, but a friend said I shouldn't do that...should I or not?"

    I can't conceive why you would do that without some quid pro quo, but it's not our place to advise you.

    You need to talk to a lawyer and, in particular, to discuss whether you are likely to be able to get a court order requiring your husband to pay your fees.
  • 11-26-2008 11:39 AM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    "In California, some marital debts are divided equitably as opposed to equally, depending on who is in the best position to pay."

    That is not correct. Parties may settle on unequal terms. However, the court follows the letter of the law, it must make a 50/50 division on an asset-by-asset basis.
  • 11-26-2008 11:41 AM In reply to

    Note [#=#] re: Husbands business debt...am I responsible?

    "bet your STBX is divorcing after 9 years because 10 years is considered a long term marriage, worth of spousal support."

    Ten years is considered the threshold for a "long-term marriage" in which permanent spousal support is a possibility. There is little question that the poster will get spousal support (probably for half the length of the marriage) under the circumstances described.
Page 1 of 1 (10 items) | RSS

My Community

Community Membership New Users: Search Community