Debt questions from around the world, helping each other by giving and receiving advice on UK based debt.

Moderators: TalbotWoods, JaneClack

ByKikker88
#461363 Hi all,

I hope someone can help me with some advice.

I lived in the UK for 8 years with my English husband. Then our relationship went sour, he moved out of our joint mortgaged property, leaving me to pay all the bills (such as the mortgage) which I couldn't. The house is now being sold but with a huge shortfall (£30k) and there are some other smaller debts. First there was talk of voluntarily handing back the property to the mortgage company because of arrears so to avoid being homeless I moved back to the Netherlands where I'm from (moved in with my mother about a year ago). My husband is now saying that he will declare himself bankrupt and leave me with all the joint debts. I don't see how I can pay back the debts (unemployed) and find it unfair that I will be solely responsible (but understand that's just how it is). I am now also considering bankruptcy but want to do that in the UK where my only debts are. I understand that I will have to move back to the UK for at least 3 months plus 1 day to show that my 'centre of main interest' is in the UK before I can declare bankruptcy which is fine. I can rent a room and find some kind of job.

But the real question is: how will the official receiver look at me moving back to the Netherlands after I've applied for bankruptcy and before it's been discharged? It will be pretty obvious that I moved to the UK just to declare myself bankrupt, right? But will the OR care??? I read that he might care if I have debts other than in UK and I moved to the UK to clear those foreign debts (to make use of easy UK bankruptcy laws). But these are UK debts only incurred whilst living in UK.

I have a child that I'll leave with my mother but don't want to stay away for a year or more. I will remain in full contact with the OR when back in the Netherlands. I don't have assets in either country after the UK property has been sold and no debts in the Netherlands so it makes sense to be bankrupt in the UK only!? I have nothing to hide. I just don't want to be bankrupt in the Netherlands where it takes 6 years for a clean slate instead of 1 year.
Sorry for the long story.
Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!
User avatar
ByTalbotWoods
#461383 Hi Kikker88 and welcome

Can you please bear with us for a couple of days, as I 'think' there may be a case for you to be able to do this in 'one day' visit to the UK under the cross-border insolvency rules with you being a EU citizen. This is known as "Forum shopping" and is actually much more common than you could beleive

This may be available if ALL your debt are UK based, but I need to conform this first.

HOWEVER, if this doesn't apply then you will need to satisfy the Habitual Residential Rules means residency of 6 months, not three months, that refers to which court you can select

But to your main points, this sound like it is a simple bankruptcy, and no there wont be any problems of you going to live in another country after you have been declared bankrupt and had your initial interview with the OR.

And one question if I may, how long has it been since you last lived in the UK (or was it Scotland or Northern Ireland)

Tim
ByKikker88
#461403 Thank you for your fast reply!

ALL my debts are in the UK. No debts elsewhere. And I have NO assets, not even a car (after the house is sold, I expect completion by the end of this month). I have two other debts (credit card £1900 and personal loan £1200). I am able to pay off the smaller debts as I have been doing (with some help from family with the monthly payments). But can't pay the shortfall on the house (£30k) by myself if my soon-to-be-ex husband declares himself bankrupt. The other two debts were actually incurred due to him being unemployed but were put in my name because I was working and couldn't get a joint loan. But that's just life, isn't it?

I moved back to the Netherlands in January 2013 after living in the UK for 8 years so 1 year ago. As I understand it: as an EU citizen I thought I had to declare bankruptcy within 3 months of leaving the country?

Also I thought 'forum shopping' was frowned upon? I know people did it in the past but it isn't allowed anymore?

Don't know if this is relevant, but my creditors know that I live in the Netherlands now. I tried to do everything above board and honestly. I have given them my income and expenditure and agreed small monthly payments for now.

Thanks again!!!
ByKikker88
#461413 Forgot to say this in my earlier post.

I am working with StepChange Debt Charity and they told me that the rules are actually "the better part of 6 months" which they interpret as "3 months + 1 day". Perhaps not good advice then?

Thanks.
ByKikker88
#461443 Sorry to post yet again!!!

I'm just feeling so overwhelmed and disheartened and trying to find some kind of solution...

I found this on http://www.beatmydebt.com/
Bankruptcy when living in the EU
If you have moved from the UK to a different European Union country the rules on whether or not you are allowed to declare yourself bankrupt in England have recently changed in an attempt to stop bankruptcy tourism.
As a result of this change, you can only declare yourself bankrupt in England if you have been out of the country for less than three months.
After three months have passed, if you wish to declare bankruptcy you will need to use the process available in the county where you are living in accordance to local law.
In order to be eligible to declare bankruptcy in England again, you would have to move back and live in England for the greater part of 6 months unless you have maintained a home in England while you have been away.


Not sure what "maintaining a home" is!? I have a house in UK but not lived in it. Will this be helpful to me at all????
User avatar
ByTalbotWoods
#461463 Please be patient until I have been able to check with with a couple of Official Receivers I have contact with.

The reason I have mooted that Forum Shopping may be allowed in this instance is that ALL the debts are UK based. If you were including overseas debts then that would have had a different effect.

The reason I am asking you NOT to read around is that I have read the Insolvency Rules, and it appears that your case is acceptable. These are very specific rules and not covered on general sites, and certainly not on sites that want you to buy their products by scaring you!!

It is this I am checking on, and until my contacts are back in the office on Monday I cannot contact them.

So stop being overwhelmed and disheartened as with all things, it will become clear when I have sought the correct advice for you.

And just one more question that may well not have any reverence, but I suspect I am goign to be asked it on Monday, the property that is being sold, can I assume that you jointly own it.

Tim
ByKikker88
#461483 Thank you Tim!

Sorry to sound so panicked!
I will try to sit tight and await your reply :-)

Yes, it's a joint mortgage. I would be able to deal with my smaller personal debts but I can't take on £30k shortfall when the property is sold and my husband declares himself bankrupt.

Thanks again!!!
User avatar
ByTalbotWoods
#461583 Hi Kikker88

This has started a massive debate!

This is being 'hypothetically' being passed to both the Court Service and the Insolvency Service Technical Department.

This is because as all your debts are in the UK, you have no debts to be included from outside of the UK, you were resident in the UK at the time these debts were inured, at at the time woudl have been deemed as 'normally resident', and by virtual of having the property here, which is the main interest, and thus your "Centre of Main Interest", then......

They think you can do this the same was as if you were a British Citizen, that is attend the High Court in London, become bankrupt in the morning, see the OR in the afternoon, and be back home (In the Netherlands) for supper.

The reason they are seeking advice is that there in nothing in the rules, etc, to say you cannot, but that the same time there is nothign say you can. So clarification is being sought

This may take a week or so. But on the plus side you if this is the case then you have up to 3 years to deal with this!

Tim
ByKikker88
#461613 Hi Tim,

Interesting and hopeful!
Deeply hope the result will be positive (obviously!).

I can understand why the government would want to curb forum shopping or bankruptcy tourism. But that's so obviously not the case here! I lived in England for many years, have always worked and been a good citizen. This situation is really not of my own making and I really feel like I deserve the clean break that others are getting. I would've paid off the joint debt if I could but can't with my husband declaring bankruptcy and leaving me with it all.

Thank you SO much for finding this out for me and thank your contacts too.

I will wait for further updates.
ByKikker88
#461623 Tim, thinking about your latest post....

Not sure if this is relevant to the discussion. But to be clear.
- I don't hold the British nationality, but another EU one.
- In a way, the largest debt will be inured after I left the country which will be the shortfall of the house sale which will complete end of this month.

If I can't declare bankruptcy at this time, I will have to move back to the UK for a period to establish COMI. StepChange told me that this period had to be "the greater part of 6 months" which they interpret as "3 months + 1 day" (not 6 months + 1 day). Which seems incorrect to me?

Anyway, let's pursue one avenue at a time :-)

Sorry to take up so much of your time but you can't know how much it's appreciated!!!
User avatar
ByTalbotWoods
#461633 Hi Kikker88

Don't worry all this has been taken on board. The reason they are say that you may well OK with this is that

All the debts are UK debts

And

Were incurred whilst you were ordinarily resident in the UK

It is because of the above they are checking this out as the viable route. Had you been trying to declare with debts from the Netherlands, then they would be saying no.

As I say as soon as we here I'll let you know.

Tim
ByKikker88
#462723 Hi Tim,

Have you heard anything more by any chance?


Thank you,
kikker88
User avatar
ByTalbotWoods
#462733 No I haven't, and I actually sent a chase up email yesterday on this.

Odd thought it may seem, sometimes it is better when they themselves have to 'consult' further.

They have both acknowledged that they have the information, and both are awaiting decisions form the policy staff.

Remember your case is unique to them, and when they changed the law, they didn't include or exclude EU members, who only have UK debts and wish to deal with these in England!

My hunch is they are both going Whoops we need to formally clarify this missing issue, and this is a damned good case for saying yes. It may just be a case that they need to formally do this!

Tim
ByKikker88
#462743 Thank you for the super quick reply and for following up! :-)
ByKikker88
#463663 Hi Tim,

Have you heard anything more? Surely they've had a chance now to think it over?

Thanks!
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