Debt is often described in negative terms. But borrowing money, or ‘taking on debt’, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Manageable debts, that you can comfortably pay back over an agreed period, are often necessary in order to take that next step in life.
It’s only when debt repayments become unmanageable or unaffordable that debt becomes a problem.
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Sharing financial responsibility with a partner can be a useful way of managing costs and raising money. For example, it’s convenient to set up a joint bank account when you move in with a partner, and when the time comes to buy, a shared mortgage is generally easier to secure than a sole mortgage.
But if there’s a breakdown in the relationship, debts can be become complex and difficult. Especially if one person goes back on their joint debt obligations. A large bill can cause stress and shock, but we’re here to help you through this.
What you need to know
If one party fails to make debt payments during or after a divorce, the other party may become solely liable for that debt. It’s a common myth that one party is only responsible for only half of a joint debt.
What can I do if I didn’t agree to sign up to an agreement?
If you’re being chased for debts that you don’t recognise, the first thing to do is ask the creditor for the original paperwork. If you didn’t sign up for the agreement, you may have been a victim of fraud. Contact Creditfix for free, impartial advice on addressing this matter.
How does marriage affect debts?
All debts and obligations taken out in a sole name prior to marriage remain the responsibility of the person named on the agreement. Even after marriage, if one party takes out a sole debt, it is their responsibility. Your credit report will not be merged with your spouse’s upon marriage but if one party has bad credit, this may affect the other person’s credit score.
What happens to the debts of a deceased partner?
If the debt is solely in the name of the deceased, then it is not your responsibility to pay it back. However, if there is equity in any property jointly held, the creditors may put a claim on the deceased party’s share of the property for repayment of the debt. If you and your partner owned 20% equity in your home, creditors may attempt to claim your deceased partner’s 10%.
What happens to the debts of a deceased family member?
In this instance, if you were a guarantor for the debt in question, the creditors will be able to pursue you for the outstanding debts. However, if the debts were only in the name of the deceased family member the creditors will not be able to chase you for the debts.
How can I tell my family and loved ones about my debt problems?
People often feel ashamed or embarrassed and find it hard to let their loved ones know about their debts. We advise our customers that this news is much better coming from you, than your family finding out from a bailiff visit.
Family members can often help you to organise and plan how to resolve your debt issues. This will help to relieve the stress on you and could prevent strain or tension arising in your relationships with partners or family members.
How can I help a partner or family member who is in debt?
Debt is a common issue across the whole of the UK, there is no reason for people to feel ashamed or embarrassed. This is something you must stress to your loved ones. They must know that they do not need to face debt alone.
If your loved one is unaware of how severe their debt issues are, collect all the information you can and do your best to help them understand it.
Creditfix is always available for you to call while you do this. We can talk you both through the options.
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