Scottish and English debt laws are different, so if you are a Scottish resident and have questions on debt, then this is the place to post.

Moderators: TalbotWoods, JaneClack

By ScottishDebtor46
#471492 Hello,

Will keep it brief.

My wife owes close to £30,000 unsecured. £20,000 of it is owed to HMRC.

We are in the final stages of trying to negotiate repayment, those negotiations have been failing.

I own our house outright. Her name has never been on the title deed and she has never contributed to the actual mortgage on the previous house (I sold last place and bought this place with the leftovers). Current value is around £175,000.

According to a few debt charities, there is ZERO chance that my ownership or ANY of my assets or financial well being or otherwise will be taken into consideration...in short, the house is off limits.

Can anyone help confirm this? Feeling a little worried that it may not be that simple.

Brian.
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By TalbotWoods
#471493 Hi and welcome Brian

As this is Scottish Law I will need to check this out so that I can make sure you are given the best understanding.

I cannot be 100% confident as present, but I do think that the information you have already been give is correct, hopefully I will be able to give you a more definite answer tomorrow.

However, as a caveat I would also suggest that you seek the advice from a Solicitors to be absolutely sure. It would be worth contacting one of those that offers a free initial consultation.

Hopefully I will be able to give you a more definite answer tomorrow.

As as aside as the current negotiations are failing, are you negotiating as an individual or through an accredited third party, such as Payplan?

Tim
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By TalbotWoods
#471495 Hi Brian

I have spoken to a contact in the AIB.

At this stage, they have STRONGLY suggested that you seek LEGAL advice, urgently.

Yes they agree that 'normally' there would be protection in place, however, they have reminded me that it will depend on the next move by HMRC (or other descenting creditors) if the negotiations fail and they take a different tack, which may include them mooting for personal bankruptcy.

In this case then different factors come into play depending on main financial connections, for example they could look at what would happen to the property in the event of your death, who would inherit and who would benefit, is there a case they could argue in court that this is an asset that has been deliberately and with intent having been put out of reach.

I have seen (albeit in England) a case where because the wife contributed to the housekeeping, bought cleaning material, even bought plants for the garden, they argued she had 'indirectly' contributed towards the value of the house! So remember that a dammed good solicitor would and could argue for indirect contribution!

What legal documents are in place regards the ownership of the house?, does she appear on ANY paperwork concerning the house?, when was the house bought?, was she moving towards potential insolvency then?

Other considerations that come into play include was this a pure personal debt, or was it rooted in a business debt, again this can effect the creditors handling of the case, Of course there is always the other bugbear, where any personal guarantees in place!

The main gist of what I am being told is that this MAY be more complex than a simple yes or no, yet at the same time depending on the legal connections it could just as easily be a simple yes or no.

It is these connections that you need to legally confirm, and this is an area we are not best placed to comment on, as it is a legal matter rather than a straightforward debt matter. The emphasis on what paperwork and financial connections there are, other then the title deeds.


The reason I asked if you were negotiating as an individual or through an accredited third party, is that often a third party can have a lot more weight in negotiation kudos with organisation such as HMRC. So I would also give Payplan or NDL a call, they may be able to champion on this one for you (you can find the link to them in the red bit in my signature)

Tim
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By TalbotWoods
#471498 Please do let us know the outcome, as this can work as a good learning curve for everyone.

I am very conscious of the bit that went "....normally, BUT .......", and that never resets easily with me, as when that comes from the legal people that often means that there are loopholes!

I really hope in this case the answer is a simple legal "Yes"

Tim
By wdm2
#471674 Sorry not to have noticed this before.

The key question, as far as I can see, is was your wife on the deeds on the old house? If yes, then when did you sell it?

If your wife should have had half the proceeds of the sale, but instead that money was used by you to buy a new home in your name only, then that may cause a problem. Gratuitous alienation in insolvency parlance and potentially reversible.

Other than that, you are not responsible for your wife's debts, and creditors have a far harder task to defeat your 'real right' to property than they would in Engalnd and Wales by arguing that contributing to the home creates a claim over the property.