The community estate (i.e. a married couple’s community property and quasi-community property) is generally liable for either party’s premarital and pre-separation debts. This rule applies regardless of which spouse has management and control of the property, and regardless of whether the debts were incurred to benefit both spouses.
The community may be liable for child support and spousal support obligations arising from one spouse’s prior marriage even though the other spouse did not personally incur the original obligation. The community, however, may be reimbursed when community property is used to pay the other spouse’s child/spousal support if the obligor spouse had separate property income available to use to satisfy the debt. The community estate is generally not liable for debts one spouse incurs while the spouses are living separate and apart from each other.
For more information about California divorces, please contact the Santa Clara divorce attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.