Sometimes it makes better sense to pay off one’s debts prior to filing for divorce.
Assets all in 1 person’s name, debts substantial
If you own a house, and that house was bought during the marriage, then you’ll otherwise need your spouse’s consent to sell that house once a divorce is filed. However, if the title & mortgage are both in your name, you can opt to sell the house to pay down debts prior to the divorce being filed. This way, you’re freeing up cash to better afford the divorce litigation, on the one hand, while eliminating an asset that your other spouse may be able to claim a share of on the other. This is all the more advisable if your debts are substantial & you can barely make ends meet between your mortgage, living expenses, credit cards, etc. Rather than have your spouse (or rather your spouse’s attorney) smell blood in the divorce case by claiming the asset, it may be better to sell now.
And separate property?
This is all the more true if the house was pre-marital. If title to the house in this instance was not also placed in your spouse’s name, then you’re free (prior to the divorce being filed) to sell with or without your spouse’s consent. Once the divorce is filed, however, you’re restricted from selling off assets.