Many couples think marrying or setting up house together means merging their debt
loads, but that's not necessarily the case. While many couples opt to pay
down debt together, neither spouse is usually legally obligated to pay
off debt that the other incurred before marriage.
If your spouse or partner never signed the original contract or
requested a credit card, they can't be held responsible for the debt.
In Canada, marriage alone does not make you responsible for your
However, if you
refinance a loan with your significant other and put your name on the
loan's promissory note, or add yourself as a joint account holder of a
credit card, you'll likely become responsible for those debts, even if
your spouse took them on before you got together.
At the very least, this could mean setting some guidelines such as cutting up
unnecessary credit cards and living on a debt-senstive budget.