Debt and earnings during separation period w/o sep agreement


If a couple is separated and not yet divorced, and no agreement is in place, are they still responsible for one another’s debt? And are earnings still considered to be splitable?

An example would be one party refuses to sign the agreement and runs up a huge credit card debt when the card is solely in his name. Could they force the other party to pay for half of that debt?

Another would be where one other party gets a nice bonus, stock options and or existing options vest during the separation period. Could the other party claim half of these earnings?

I’m very hopeful that they are no longer financially tied once they are separated.


You are correct, for the most part that they are no longer financially tied. Marital debt and assets are defined as during the course of the marriage. Once a couple has separated, all salaries and even investments made after the date of separation are considered separate property. This is also true for debt incurred after the date of separation. If one party is found to be attempting to increase marital debt or liquidate marital assets, then that could be cause for an unequal division of marital property.
Basically, once you begin living separate and apart, you are no longer responsible or eligible for the spouse’s financial issues or benefits as long as it does not apply to marital property.

Money you invested in 401K during the marriage would need to be split, but if you begin investing after the date of separation, it is separate. A bonus given after the date of separation, would be separate. Credit card debt is unsecured debt and if you can show the court the date of separation, regardless of having an agreement, and the dates the amounts were put on the card, then you can show it’s separate debt. Refusal to sign an agreement only means that he/she doesn’t agree to the statements. It does not mean you are not separated or until it’s signed that all financial dealings are still shown as marital. Your stbx is making a mistake if that is what he/she is basing their decisions on at this time.
Sort of like my husband’s ex, had major elective surgery after their separation assuming he would have to pay have to pay half. I think she’s still making payments to the hospital 5 years later…Or her believing that if she didn’t sign the divorce papers then the divorce wouldn’t go through. :roll:

Glad you found this site and are doing your homework to know what your rights are.


No. Spouses begin incurring separate debt after the date of separation, or when they begin living separate and apart.
As for the earnings, those are marital. The vesting date is not the date the options were earned.


Earnings after separation are still joint? Could he come back and say I owe him half my earnings for the separation period???


Debt acquired after the date of separation is separate debt. As for the bonus and stock options, they are marital if earned during the marriage and distributed during separation, however if earned after the physical separation they too are separate.