Should I refuse to marry my fiscally challenged fiancé?


If I were to marry my fiancé and he owes the government money, can they put a lien on my house? Will any of his debts affect my property or assets?


If your fiancé owes money before you marry, those debts will for the most part remain his responsibility. If you live in a community property state, however, there's an important exception. Creditors can go after your community property -- that is, most of the property that either of you earn or acquire during your marriage -- to collect your spouse's premarital debts. You'd then have to ask your fiancé to reimburse you for your portion of that property.

Fortunately, there's an easier way to handle the issue of your beloved's debts no matter what state you live in. Before you get married, the two of you can create a prenuptial agreement making it clear that your house -- and anything else you want to protect, including what you earn during your marriage -- is your separate property. This means that neither the government nor any other creditor can touch it to cover your fiancé's premarital debts.

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