Things to consider if you’ve separated and have debts

  • Any joint debts you have with your partner will have ‘joint and several liability’. This means that if your partner can’t make payment towards the debt you will have to repay the full amount
  • A joint bank account with an overdraft is just like a joint loan. If your ex-partner disappears and runs up bills on the joint account, the bank will hold you responsible for the debt’s full amount. Again, you have ‘joint and several liability’
  • Arguing that it’s your ex-partner’s fault doesn’t tend to work unfortunately; banks are unlikely to remove names from joint accounts. You may find some institutions more amenable than others but most banks don’t like to do it
  • If you don’t have any joint debts you can get a ‘notice of disassociation’. This removes any financial link with your ex-partner on your credit file. To do this you can to contact one of the credit reference agencies who can remove this link
  • If you’re renting a property you’ll need to inform the landlord that the tenancy agreement needs to be transferred into your name only
  • If you’ve got a joint mortgage you may want to seek legal advice before you decide what will happen to your property
  • If your separation means you’re now the only adult in the property, make sure you tell your local council as you’ll be entitled to a 25% discount on your council tax
  • Separation will usually affect your income and living arrangements. This could mean that your benefit entitlement changes. You can use this free benefits checker to find out what benefits you can claim and the amounts you’re likely to receive
  • If you need debt advice or information on dealing with your debts, you can use StepChange Debt Charity's online Debt Remedy tool. This will provide you with advice and a debt solution tailored to your situation

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Help and support or separated familes