Hi, thank you for your question. Firstly as you have been separated for 7 years you can apply under the fact of 5 year separation and you do not need his consent.
I presume you have been married a very long time and this will entitle you both to seek financial relief from each other which will take into account all assets and liabilities. One risk you have is that he may seek for you to share the debts he has accrued especially if he can prove they were for matrimonial purposes.
If you purchase a property now, that may also be a risk as he can claim from that property and there is no time limit on such a claim and it can be brought even after divorce if he has not remarried and if there is no court approved financial settlement between you. The same is available to you as well.
For your information the criteria considered by the court in these matters is:
1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
I hope this assists you. If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for your question without a positive rating. Thank you