My partner and I are now separated, what happens to our debt

July 29, 2013

Debt is currently one of the leading causes of divorce and separation in Scotland. In a recent report from the former Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), now renamed StepChange debt charity, statistics revealed that 37 per cent of couples in Scotland believed debt problems had a serious negative impact on their relationship. However, if not managed correctly, the period following the breakdown of a relationship can often cause further debt issues.

If you’re going through a separation and you have debts to pay, it’s important to discuss whose responsibility it is to repay them. Often this will depend on the type of debt you have.

Any debts which are solely in your partners name will not fall under your responsibility, unless as a couple, you have decided to take them on as joint debts, or you have acted as guarantor. Whether you are going through a divorce or are simply co-habiting, the situation is the same.

If your partner moves out of the property that you shared and attempts are made to recover the debts, it’s important to give them a forwarding address and explain your partner has moved on to avoid any further communication. If you’re currently facing harassment from creditors, our knowledgeable advisers at Scotland Debt Solutions will be happy to advise you on your rights and any other debt advice you require.

If you have joint debts, such as mortgage repayments, credit cards and loans, it’s important to discuss your responsibilities with your ex-partner if the break up is amicable. In the event that the break up is not amicable, our team at Scotland Debt Solutions can offer you impartial advice, along with other organisations such as housing advice service, Shelter, or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You should always contact your creditors and inform them of any changes which might affect your repayments, especially if you have a mortgage.

Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, both parties are liable for repayment of a mortgage or rent, regardless of whether you choose to stay in the property. If your ex-partner decides to stop payments, you will still be liable for the full amount. If you are not named on the mortgage or tenancy, you will not be legally responsible for any further payments, although you would be at risk of eviction by the landlord or the lender.  Regulations differ depending on each individual situation, so it’s always important to get advice from the lender or landlord on what to do next.

If you and your ex-partner now live at separate addresses, you can to apply for ‘financial disassociation’. This ensures that going forward, you cannot be affected if your ex partners has a low credit score and ensures that your credit record holds only your details.

A relationship breakdown is a sad and stressful time. But with the help of professional advisers like those at Scotland Debt Solutions, sorting out your debts properly will give you the extra peace of mind you need so you can concentrate on any other life-changing decisions you might face.

John Baird

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 0800 063 9250

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