Am I liable for a bounced check from my wife if I'm not actually on the checking account?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Husband removes himself from wife's checking. Wife starts writing bounced checks. Wife doesn't get new checks, so husband is still named on the bounced checks, but not on the account. Is husband liable for any bounced check from wife?

Expert Answer

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Regardless of whose names appear on the actual check, the important factor is who are the joint owners of the account.  Therefore, in this situation when the wife started writing bad checks, the husband was no longer a joint owner of the checking account and he has no personal liability.  However, in any event, even if the account had remained a joint account, the husband would have no liability beyond those assets that were in the joint checking account because spouses are not responsible for the debts of their spouses.