If your partner leaves you and stops paying the bills, what can you do?
Whether you’re married or cohabiting, break-ups can be expensive and traumatic. If your partner has left you and your home and stopped contributing to the bills, then clearly this will put a lot of strain on you and your finances. One of the most important things to do in this scenario is to seek legal help and find out what your legal rights are.
Prioritising your debts
If you don’t have enough money to pay all your bills, then make a list and prioritise the most important debts. These tend to include rent, mortgages, council tax, gas and electricity because non-payment of these debts will have the biggest consequences. If you know you will be unable to make the full payment it’s always worth contacting the companies in question to see if you come to an agreement on a payment arrangement.
Debts built up on credit cards and store card bills, although important, have less consequences other than building up interest. If you know that this is likely to be a long-term problem, it’s worth asking if interest and charges can be frozen whilst you sort out your financial issues. They might not do this but it’s worth putting them in the picture about your situation and having the conversation with them. If your debts seem insurmountable and are causing you sleepless nights then it’s worth speaking to a debt charity such as Step Change to see what they advise.
Dealing with joint debts
If the debt is in both your names then you are both liable to pay it. With this scenario, it’s best to negotiate with your ex-partner to ensure that they pay their share. Once again, keep the companies in question informed about your situation and they may be able to place restrictions on joint debts so your ex-partner can’t add to them and make the situation worse.
If you have a joint loan or mortgage with your partner then not keeping up with repayments will affect both your credit ratings and ability to borrow more money in the future. It is therefore in your ex-partner’s best interests to pay their share and co-operate with you.
Reaching an amicable agreement
If your ex-partner refuses to pay their share or helps initially and then stops, keep your creditor informed about your situation. If your creditor ignores your situation, you may be able to consult the Financial Ombudsman Service if you believe they are not treating you fairly.
Ideally, it will be to the benefit of both parties if a fair agreement can be reached so that an amicable arrangement on bills can be sorted out.
If your partner has left you paying debts alone and won’t reach an agreement with you, then please contact HS Lawyers now for advice.