Can a legal separation protect a spouse from the other accruing additional debt?

Neither want a divorce yet, but I need to know how to protect myself in case she takes on additional debt without my consent.

Seattle, WA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Kate M Forrest

Kate M Forrest

Family Law Attorney - Seattle, WA
Answered

In a legal separation the court can certainly order the parties to take responsibility for their individual debt after the date of separation, but that is not necessarily a guarantee that you couldn't end up being liable for it. Even a divorce decree assigning debts to one of the parties is not binding on creditors - a domestic court order does not have the power to change a civil contract. In addition to a legal separation, you would want to make sure to separate your finances completely, such as terminating any shared lines of credit with a bank or credit card company. If you are awarded any real property in the decree of separation, you may want to consider refinancing to remove her name from the mortgage, as well as from the deed, to prevent her from further encumbering the property.

If you are serious about protecting your assets, including good credit, you should discuss the particular facts of your case with an attorney privately.

Matthew Erik Johnson

Matthew Erik Johnson

Estate Planning Attorney - Seattle, WA
Answered

You can create a post-nuptual agreement that any debt accrued by either party is their sold debt alone. You can also make sure that credit cards are on the sole name of one person or another. You can also create two corporations set up to keep your expenses separate from one another and get the CCs in the name of the respective corporations.

Whether a separtion will work depends on the jurisdiction. Some states only call debt separate property once a divorce is petitioned, others when their is a separation with no intent to reconcile. So even if you separated - you would still be seeing each other (it sounds like) so that option may not work.

Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale... more
Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Estate Planning Attorney - Largo, FL
Answered

1-Destroy all joint credit cards.
2 Have a post marital agreement that addresses
future debt.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of... more

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