mr_smith_2019

Am I responsible for my wife's debt?

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Here is my situation:

My name and my wife's name are on the title to our house.

The Bank mortgage is in my name ONLY, but of course she had to initial/sign all the finance paperwork also because her name is on the title.

She has about $20,000 in credit card debts with the SAME bank.  The credit cards are all in her name and I am not a signer on the cards.

Her only income is social security disability.  If she defaults on all the credit card debt I know they can ruin her credit score but cannot actually collect money from her.  However, since my mortgage is with the same bank, can the Bank make ME responsible for her debt and cause the mortgage to default also even though she is not the responsible party for the Mortgage and I always pay the mortgage on time?

 

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Look though the documents and see if the mortgage has an acceleration clause in the event of default with any account with the bank. If there is no clause, you don't have to worry about that.

However, if the bank wins a judgement against your wife, they could put a lien on the house and if the equity gets high enough, they could foreclose to get your wife's share.

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So I was thinking about this more recently because she has now maxed out her credit (she’s out of control) and what about this scenario...

I refinance the house with a different lender and during the refi process we take my wife’s name off the title.  Then if she defaults on the old bank’s credit cards they would have no basis at all to put a lien on the house, correct?   

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That would help and I would suggest getting everything out of the wife's name if she is willing to do that (she might not). A refi would move the mortgage to another bank but your wife is still on the house title so she would need to do a quit claim deed. The question is, is she willing to sign.

I don't think Georgia is a community property state so there would be no problems there.

This said, you really need to get your wife help and put a stop to whatever problem is causing her to spend like this.

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You probably need to consult an attorney.

Yes, I know this is a web site mostly for DIY legal types, but your situation is rather serious.  You need to know what you can do to protect yourself and your home.  

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