Can married couples apply their homestead exemption against the debts of only one spouse?

State laws do differ on who can claim the homestead protection. Several states give homestead protection only to the head of the household, but most states allow either spouse to claim homestead. This is certainly the trend. Several states cancel homestead protection when it is separately applied for by both spouses, as cross-declarations cancel each other. Other states allow co-owner spouses to apportion their homestead protection against their respective ownership interests. In these instances, the spouse should consider which spouse should claim the homestead exemption. If your state allows spousal apportionment, the homestead protection should logically be allocated to the greater lawsuit risk spouse.