Money is something that affects many relationships, especially when couples are looking to buy a house or get married.

Sharing your finances with your partner can often be a convenient and sensible approach to organising your money. Joint finances with your partner could include a:

  • Mortgage
  • Loan
  • Bank account

It’s important to understand that, generally speaking, you can only be held responsible for debts that are in your name or held jointly in your name.

If your name isn’t listed on the credit agreement, and you didn’t sign any contracts, then you shouldn’t be chased for payment.

The effect of your partner’s debt

When your partner owes a significant amount of money, it can severely impact your day-to-day life. If you have joint credit, you will need to look into ensuring the repayments continue to be made on time and in full.

You may also be affected if you wish to apply for joint credit in the future, such as a mortgage, as both your credit reports will be reviewed.

If you are married, your partner’s debts do not automatically become your problem, too, if they are only taken on in their name.

It’s important to support your partner and find out how they are coping with their debt.

You may want to ask:

  • How much debt do they still need to pay off?
  • How long have they had this debt?
  • What are they doing to pay it back?
  • Has it impacted their credit rating?

Once you have a better understanding of the situation, you can start to tackle it together.

What happens to my partner’s debt if we get married?

If your spouse has debt, you won’t take it on just because you’re married.

Whether you’ll have to share it depends on whether the debt is theirs alone, or a shared credit agreement.

If you take on joint debt, then you may be liable if they’re not able to keep up with their part of the repayment.

What will happen if my partner and I break up?

If you have any joint accounts, you should close them down or convert them to only your name.

If you have a joint credit card or unsecured debt, you’ll probably need to pay it off in full before you can close it down.

Mortgages and secured debts can be solved by either selling the asset to pay off the loan or arranging with the lender for one of you to take over the debt solely.

Once you have closed any joint accounts and debts, your ex-partner’s credit history will still show on your credit reports for up to ten years.

If you need support with your debts, you can call us for free on 0800 316 1833 – we’re open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 3pm on Saturdays. Or, you can visit our website to chat with us via live chat or for more information.