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Am I Liable for My Partners Debt? vs Spouse’s Responsibility (UK)

Liability For Partners Debt

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

If your partner fails to return their debt, you will not be liable for it, hence the creditor cannot legally reach you out to ask for the payment.

Loans and debts, credit histories, etc., are all independent matters and your relationship with a particular person does not co-score your credits.

However, I will still help you understand how independent credits, as well as co-scoring credits, can affect a stable life for you and your partner.

Is there anything I can do?

As I said at the start, you are not liable to pay your partner’s debt in most cases (we’ll talk about one case below).

However, you might want to know what you can do? One option is to get financial advice on behalf of your partner and help them improve their finances.

Many people in debt can’t afford to pay financial advisors, but I’ve found a kind of sneaky loophole with an online financial advice service that will allow you to talk with a financial advisor for just £5 for a whole week!

It’s a bit nuaghty, but you can pay £5, ask all the questions you need and cancel the service at the end of the week.

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Do I Have to Pay My Partner’s Debt?

Your relationship with a person does not make you responsible to return the borrowed money that they independently take – unless you have taken a joint loan of money, that is on a joint bank or credit card.

When joint loans are concerned, all the involved parties are equally responsible for paying the debt off.

In case your partner fails to return the money, you will be held accountable for it.

But since you aren’t responsible for paying off the complete debt, you can take the matter to the court of law, and ask your spouse to make their payment.

What is a Joint Credit Application?

Joint credit applications refer to any application made to get any form of credit facilities, such as a credit card loan, or any other joint debt, that are to be shared by more than one person. In joint credit, the assets and estates of both the involved parties are looked into for financial information. Similarly, both the persons involved are equally responsible for the approval or non approval of loans, etc.

This means that if one person has a bad credit history due to a bad history with debts, they can get a joint loan approved due to the other person’s good credit rating. Sometimes, however, one person’s bad credit might have a negative impact on the loan’s approval and might become a hindrance for the person with better credit rating as well.

However, you should know that as far as joint credit applications are concerned, you cannot apply for them from the very start.

The primary body applies for an independent credit facility, and then later on adds the other person as a co-signer to receive the facility on joint names.

After co-signing any credit facility, both bodies become equally responsible for any facility taken on their joint names, and their credit files also become co-scored.

credit card

Does My Debt Affect My Partner?

If you have taken a personal debt, it will in no way affect your partner. No one is liable for a debt that you have taken independently, even if it is a partner that you get married too. Your credit file will always remain only yours. The only condition when your debts would affect your partner would be if they had co-signed the loans with you, which are of course then joint debts.

What Happens If You Marry Someone With Debt?

Even if you’re married to someone with debt, you or your credit scores will not be affected by their credit file. However, if you look at the situation with another perspective, their bad credit scores will be posing a few issues for you. For instance, it might result in the non approval of a huge joint loan that you might want to take later.

So long story short, it’s not fundamentally awful – but it could have some consequences depending on what financial products you might be interested in taking out in the near future.

Dealing with Debt After Separation

Any joint debts that you took with your partner stay co-signed even if you end up separating. This means that both you and your ex partner are responsible for such debts, and if one party fails to make the payments, the creditor will ask the other party to pay back the amount.

But there’s more; if your ex spouse refuses to make their share of the payment, you can take your case to the court of law and demand an equal share from them. If you think asking for half the payment from you is unfair to your monetary conditions, you can take this case to the court of law as well.

If you made credit agreements when you were together, they remain so in the eyes of law even after you have separated.

Am I Liable for My Partner’s Business Debt?

The only party liable for your spouse’s business debt is their business partner, not you – unless you are their business partner. Every business partner is completely responsible for any debts taken by the company. But simply being a spouse to someone doesn’t make you liable for their business debts.

What Should I do If My Partner is in Debt?

If your partner is in debt, their debt will not affect you. However, you should still try to take them out of debt and help them get a good credit score. You can go to Experian‘s or Equifax‘s website to check out your credit score.

Help them make a budget, and get them on track to make timely payments for the owed money, so that later if you have to co-sign any credit facility, you do not suffer from their bad credit.

FAQs – All You Should Know to Deal with Your Partner’s Debts

My credit history is better than my partner’s; should I help them?
The credit history of your partner does not affect your personal credit scores directly. However, it does affect the both of you when you’re applying for a joint loan, like a mortgage. So, yes, it’s necessary that you provide them with debt help so as to get them on track, and help them make a budget to improve their credit scores.
How does insurance help?
Your life insurance can be used by you to pay off your debts if you choose to utilise your death benefits earlier on. Another method is by selling your insurance to pay the debt off.
Does my debt affect my partner?
Any debt that you take independently does not affect your partner in any way. Even your credit score is independent from their credit score.
Can you be responsible for someone else’s debt?
You are lawfully never responsible for someone else’s debt. Whether it’s your parent, your partner, or any other person you’re associated with, they cannot hold you accountable for money that they borrowed. Similarly, no creditor can force you to pay debt for someone else that you are simply just related to.
Can I be held liable for my spouse’s debts?
Yes and no. You are only responsible for your spouse’s debts if the agreement or obligation is in both names. If you are a co-signer then you are liable.
Does my partner’s debts affect my credit score?
Your partner’s debts do not affect your credit score in any way. Unless you are borrowing money through a joint account – which is as much your responsibility as theirs – their personal debts cannot affect your personal credit score.
Is it a bad idea to open a joint account?
This is relative to every person’s situation, so it’s not always a bad idea to open joint accounts. However, it is recommended that you do not do so in case one of the people involved has a bad credit history. Opening a joint account would also co-score the credit, which will affect the person with the better credit score negatively as well.    
How can I protect myself from my husband’s debt?
You can protect yourself from your husband’s debts by having a separate bank account which limits your vulnerability to their debt.
Is it a good idea to go in business with your spouse?
This depends on the relationship that the two people share, and their circumstances. Of course, if you start a business with your spouse and are able to work passionately with mutual trust, your success can be unmatched. But then you might not be able to separate your work lives from your personal lives, which will eventually become a struggle for the both of you. So, the answer to this question really lies in how much you are willing to work things out with your spouse in this regard.

Help your partner struggling with debt

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Final Thoughts

Fairly speaking, I can say that although you are not responsible for your spouse’s personal debts, you should help them get rid of it through proper budgeting to make timely payments, etc.

You might need to borrow money for loans, such as a mortgage, later in life, and thus you should prepare for it from the very beginning.

Step one would be upping your collective credit scores so that no credit facility approval-related issues become an added hindrance for you!


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