Unfortunately, physical separation by itself does not amount to legal separation. To be cautious, it is advisable to file for separation, and get a judgment, before the third party creditor files a lawsuit against both of you. Yes, they could argue that you were also benefited during the marriage, but I would definitely fight their attempts to include you in a new lawsuit. Yes, the separation process will be a public record. As far as any legal separation agreement, you can divide up the credit card debt between either of you, but, as long as the third party creditor knows that the community benefited (or the married couple both benefited) that third party creditor can pursue either, or both, of you.
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