While complete protection from a spouse's financial affairs might not be possible, spouses do have some ways to cordon off their assets, says Alicia Rinaldi, a family law attorney with Rinaldi & Sparks in Boston.
"You'll probably have to use a combination of methods, and you may not be entirely insulated from the issue, but you can put up roadblocks," she
"You can't designate something as a separate account and then not have the actual ownership of that account reflect that," Rinaldi
A second caveat is that creditors aren't a party to a marital agreement.
That means they may still try to collect debts from either spouse, and the spouse whose assets are claimed contrary to the agreement may have to resort to legal action against the debtor spouse to enforce the terms.
That could get ugly, and usually occurs only when spouses have decided to divorce, Rinaldi
A trust, corporation or the like also might not be "an absolute bar" against a creditor, Rinaldi
says, but could be a deterrent to collection.
"It can make the process more difficult for the creditor, and maybe the decision will be not to go forward," she
may not solve problems
Nor is divorce a surefire way to escape a spouse's debts.
and Williams say they've heard of people who divorced due to debt problems, but that step usually happens not because of the debts, but due to a breakdown in communication and trust.