MYTH: I am liable for half of my spouse's debt
REALITY: Debt in your spouse’s own name is a personal contractual liability and is therefore not automatically transferable to you (unless you are the guarantor). The repayments are only the responsibility of the spouse whose name they are in, and will only affect their credit rating if payments are missed. However, if a debt in your spouse’s name has been secured against joint property, this will put the property at risk if payments are defaulted.
Any jointly held debts on divorce, will remain in both names and will continue to be joint debts and you will therefore be liable if your spouse defaults.
During divorce financial proceedings, the Courts can order individual debts to be joint if the Court considers that both parties have benefitted from the debt. This means that the debts will be taken into account when considering the joint matrimonial assets and a decision will be made as to how they are to be settled.
For more information or advice, please get in touch with the Family team.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.