If you and your spouse have separated and made the choice to move forward with a divorce, you will need to figure out how to separate your combined lives. This includes not only dividing up your personal belongings and financial assets but dividing up your joint debts as well. When you do this, it is important to take proactive steps to ensure you do not end up on the hook for a debt later on that you thought your spouse was supposed to repay.

As explained by U.S. News and World Report, for any account on which your name remains, the creditor may consider you a responsible party and come after you for repayment. If you believe you can be protected by the stipulations put forth in your divorce decree, that may not be as easy as you might like it. If your former spouse failed to pay a specific credit card bill, the chances of you succeeding in getting them to pay the creditor or you may not be high either without legal action.

One way to avoid this difficult scenario is to pay off any joint debt before your divorce is complete. Another option you have is to ensure that any joint debt assigned to one person is transferred to a new account in that person’s name only.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give separated or divorcing spouses an overview of what they might want to do in order to protect themselves against being potentially liable for a former spouse’s debt.