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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13672
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I am planning trial separation. I am getting ready to sign a

Customer Question

I am planning for a trial separation. I am getting ready to sign a lease at an apartment. Does it make a difference if only I Am on the lease versus both my wife and I?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The issue here is liability for the debt. The key for terminating responsibility for debts is the "date of separation", which can either be determined by agreement or by the court (though a number of states don't even recognize "legal" separation, so there would be nothing that could be or had to be filed with the court). It is the date both parties believe that the marriage is defunct. Any debts incurred after that day would be interpreted by the court as separate obligation. If you add your spouse to the lease, they become jointly and severably liable for the lease. If you're late on payment, the landlord can then come after one or both of you. And if you were to be sued for eviction, your spouse would have to be named in the lawsuit as well.

Since I am going to assume you want this to be considered a separation and don't want this debt treated as "marital", I would say leave her off the lease.

If you need clarification or additional information, please reply and I'll be happy to assist you further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am still hoping for a reconciliation. I am going through a trial separation just to make my wife feel better. Could she use the trial separation against me in any way if she is not in the lease?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Well if you divorce, and she's not on the lease, there's no doubt that it's solely your debt to be responsible for. But it doesn't really hurt you otherwise. Most divorce cases are filed as "no fault" so the fact that you did a trial separation and she wasn't on the lease otherwise doesn't really matter.

Here's the other thing to consider though -would she even willingly sign the lease? If she absolutely is against signing, it's a moot point anyway if she won't put her name down.