When are we financially responsible for the spouse’s debts?
Deciding to get married, there may be signals to protect your personal property against financial liability for your spouse. This may be due to, for example, business or non-economic lifestyle. How to take care of your own safety and is it always possible? We write about it below.
Property community, does it affect liability and what is that?
Polish legislation still allows for the automatic institution of a property community, which is created when a person is married in Poland. And what does this involve? Of course, bearing the risk of financial liability for your spouse. This will happen in situations where one of the spouses incurs obligations and then does not repay them (if the other spouse agrees to the obligation) or due to mismanagement, e.g. propensity to gamble or overestimation of expenses. It should be remembered that everything that the spouses acquire during the marriage will become part of the joint property.
When does a spouse be financially responsible for the debts of the other spouse?
The question is quite complex and the answer does not have to be unambiguous. Because in many decisions regarding your spouse’s financial liability, consent is required and this is indicated in the Code of Family and Guardianship Law. Among the important decisions in a marriage, which the spouses must agree to, there are the purchase or sale of real estate or companies or a donation from joint property.
But there are also situations where consent is not needed, e.g. in every situation where it is about meeting the needs of the family. Here, the situation is saved by the case law of Polish courts and indicates costs related to e.g. the purchase of food, clothing, or the necessary fees for monthly utilities.
You can try to rely on recklessness in your spouse’s expenses and apply for release from his obligations in this regard, but we are not sure whether the court will agree with our request. And such activities as shopping in installments will also be effective, despite the lack of consent of the other spouse. An important fact is that the lack of consent does not block any debt enforcement from some of the joint assets, but at least not from personal.
Good Finance – is this a good way to protect yourself from debt?
This is definitely one of the best safeguards that a future spouse can make to protect himself against financial liability for his spouse. Signing it means that everything that each of the spouses will work out during the marriage will be their personal property. In order for the intercourse agreement to be legally binding, it must be signed before a notary public who will certify its validity.
It is worth noting that such a contract is not always needed, but it is a great solution, among others in a situation where the spouse runs a business, especially one that may involve the risk of losing financial liquidity. The conclusion of such a contract does not mean, of course, that it cannot be canceled. Of course, such a joint declaration of separation can be withdrawn at any time, even many years after marriage.
Other ways to avoid your spouse’s debts
We see that the topic of securing against financial responsibility for a spouse is very important, because in today’s world endless consumption surrounds us from all sides. Hence the need to have many things or use many services, and yet we do not have enough funds for everything.
And here arise the need for protection against even a reckless commitment of a spouse. One way for the property community to end is to apply to the court for separation. Only such, officially announced by the court, will have legal force. And since its announcement, the spouses live on their own account and are responsible for their obligations themselves.
What obligations are the spouses jointly responsible for?
There are obligations from which the spouse cannot escape and will also be financially responsible for the spouse. What are these commitments? Namely, it is about securing all these goods and spaces without which marriage as a family could not function in a normal society. Among them we can mention:
- utilities fees (electricity, gas, water)
- housing rent bills
- outlays that need to be made to raise a child
- clothing and footwear etc.
In all these cases, the spouses are jointly liable for the obligations and expenses they have incurred.