Ask An Attorney: Is Wife Responsible for Husband’s Criminal Fines?

Welcome to You Be The Judge. Today’s question comes from Eugene. The writer/wife wants to know whether or not she can be liable responsible for her husband’s fine that results from the husband’s conviction for rape.

My name is Steven Leskin. I’m a divorce and family law attorney in Portland you can find me at You can submit questions there as well. I post new content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at about 10 o’clock. If you like what you hear, please like, subscribe, or comment below. We value your engagement.

So the writer or the wife is afraid that she’ll be responsible for a husband’s fines, which resulted from criminal activity. It’s not clear whether the husband has actually been fined or convicted yet, but the writer wants to know what her exposure might be to, potentially, some serious fines.

In Oregon, spouses are jointly liable for family debt. So for debt for the kids, for support of the kids, a creditor can go after either parent on those debts. A creditor cannot go after separate debts, particularly separate debts, that were incurred before the marriage or separate debts during the marriage. And certainly, a creditor cannot go after criminal fines and fines resulting from criminal activity against a spouse.

Again, my name is Steven Leskin. I am a family law and a divorce attorney in Portland and you can’t find me answering the questions at

Thanks for watching.