You are Liable for Your Spouse’s Construction Contract

By Jedidiah McKeehan

So your spouse decides to hire a construction company to build an addition to your house…without telling you.

As with many construction contracts, things go sideways halfway through the project and your spouse fires the construction company and refuses to pay them the remaining funds they are owed under the contract.

Within the next few months a lawsuit arrives at your door that lists both your spouse and you as defendants. Wait a second, you had nothing to do with that contract! You did not even want an addition!

Unfortunately, Tennessee law states that you are on the hook anyway for the construction contract your spouse signed.

Tennessee Code Annotated section 66-11-103 states, “When the contract for improving real property is made with a husband or a wife who not separated and living apart from that person’s spouse, and the property is owned by the other spouse or by both spouses, the spouse who is the contracting party shall be deemed to be the agent of the other spouse unless the other spouse serves the prime contractor with written notice of that spouse’s objection to the contract within 10 days after learning of the contract.”

Ouch! I have no idea who would actually be aware of this law in order to object to being liable for a contract, but unless you do so, you are on the hook for any construction contract your spouse signs.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including family law, criminal, and personal injury. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.