Debt Incurred by One Spouse
Generally, the spouse who incurred debt during the marriage is solely responsible for paying it
back. For example, if one spouse took out a car loan in his name, the other spouse will generally
not be liable for repayment of same.
Generally, both spouses are equally responsible for paying the full amount of joint debt. For
example, if both spouses opened a joint line of credit, they will both be responsible for the full
amount owed. Creditors can then pursue both spouses for the repayment of same. Accordingly,
if one spouse does not pay his share of the joint debt, the other spouse may be liable for the
Often, separation agreements stipulate which spouse will pay which debt(s). However, these
agreements are not binding on third party creditors. Thus, one spouse might still be liable for
the other spouse’s debt, notwithstanding a clause in the separation agreement to the contrary.