When spouses separate, the world does not stop moving forward, despite the emotional turmoil. Everyday expenses still pile up. A joint debt, or obligation, remains a joint debt, for which the creditor can pursue either of you individually or jointly. The same way that a creditor can go after a co-signor of a loan, joint debts are payable and enforceable against both spouses even after the marriage ends, unless the debts are settled as part of the divorce or renegotiated with the creditor.
All too often, in the time between separating and divorcing, spouses will ruin each other’s credit because joint debts fall by the wayside. When parties cannot agree on how to divide their property and assets, a court will need to get involved, which can make the process take significantly longer. When a home mortgage or debts relating to children are involved, the shared finances and joint obligations become something that the separated parties need to discuss as early as possible.