Debt Collection, Garnishment, Repossession

questions & answers

Question: I have a collection on my credit report which belongs to my husband. When contacting the collection agency, they told me that this collection will stay on my report because I am married to the person which ows them money. The account was included in our bankruptcy in 2013 as an individual debt and not a joint debt. Am I responsible for my husbands debt? It was for electrical service my husband applied for himself. Thank you

Answer: Arizona law recognizes a distinction between separate and community property in marriage.
Separate property is defined by Arizona Revised Statue 25-213.

25-213. Separate property
A. A spouse's real and personal property that is owned by that spouse before marriage and that is acquired by that spouse during the marriage by gift, devise or descent, and the increase, rents, issues and profits of that property, is the separate property of that spouse.
B. Property that is acquired by a spouse after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment is also the separate property of that spouse if the petition results in a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment.
C. Notwithstanding subsection B of this section and section 25-214, subsection C, a mortgage or deed of trust executed by a spouse who acquires the real property encumbered by that mortgage or deed of trust after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment shall be enforceable against the real property if the petition does not result in a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment.
D. A contribution to an irrevocable trust that has or will have as its principal asset life insurance on the person making the contribution is a contribution of the insured's separate property if the spouse of the insured is the primary beneficiary of the trust.

Arizona Revised Statute 25-215 outlines how liability is determined for property.

25-215. Liability of community property and separate property for community and separate debts
A. The separate property of a spouse shall not be liable for the separate debts or obligations of the other spouse, absent agreement of the property owner to the contrary.
B. The community property is liable for the premarital separate debts or other liabilities of a spouse, incurred after September 1, 1973 but only to the extent of the value of that spouse's contribution to the community property which would have been such spouse's separate property if single.
C. The community property is liable for a spouse's debts incurred outside of this state during the marriage which would have been community debts if incurred in this state.
D. Except as prohibited in section 25-214, either spouse may contract debts and otherwise act for the benefit of the community. In an action on such a debt or obligation the spouses shall be sued jointly and the debt or obligation shall be satisfied: first, from the community property, and second, from the separate property of the spouse contracting the debt or obligation.

For more information on property laws and marriage, see A.R.S. Title 25 Article 2: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/arizonarevisedstatutes.asp?Title=25

QUESTIONS

  • I have a collection on my credit report which belongs to my husband. When contacting the collection agency, they told me that this collection will stay on my report because I am married to the person which ows them money. The account was included in our bankruptcy in 2013 as an individual debt and not a joint debt. Am I responsible for my husbands debt? It was for electrical service my husband applied for himself. Thank you

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
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