Your Partner is not responsible for your debts if you go bankrupt. However they may be affected in other ways.
- Does your Partner have to pay your debt?
- Will your Partner’s Credit Rating be affected?
- How will a jointly owned property be affected?
- Can you keep your joint bank account?
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Does your Partner have to pay your Debt if you go Bankrupt?
Your partner is not liable to pay your debts even if you go bankrupt. A third party cannot be forced to pay debt that you cannot or will not repay. This is the case even if you are married.
Nevertheless you will have to provide information about your partner’s income. This is so the Official Receiver (OR) can make sure sure they are paying a fair share of the household expenses.
The OR will take this into account when considering how much of your income should go towards the expenses and how much you can afford to pay towards your debts.
If you have joint debts your partner remains liable for the full balance of these. If they cannot afford the payments from their income they may also need to consider a debt solution.
Will your Partner’s Credit Rating be affected if you go Bankrupt?
When you go bankrupt your credit rating is negatively affected. However this does not happen to your partner or anyone else who lives with you. The record of your bankruptcy does not appear on their credit file.
Given you and your partner are living at the same address it is possible that information from your file could be mistakenly mixed up with their’s. It is important they check this by getting a copy of their credit file.
If any of your information does appear they can ask to be disassociated from it. This will then overcome any subsequent credit problems.
Your partner’s credit rating is only at risk if you have joint debts which they cannot pay. Any missed payments will also be recorded on their credit file. This will negatively affect their credit rating.
How will a jointly owned Property be affected?
If you own a property in joint names your share of any equity will be transferred to the OR. However your partner’s share does not have to be handed over. It is not at risk and remains their’s at all times.
Your share of any equity will have to be released. One option is for your partner to raise the funds required. They may have savings of their own or you might choose to re-mortgage the property to achieve this.
If there is considerable equity and you or your partner simply cannot release it the OR might issue a charge for the value of your share. In extreme cases they can force the sale of the property.
If the property is force sold your partner’s share of any equity released will always be given to them. They can spend this money on whatever they like. However they are unlikely to be able to stop the sale.
Can you keep a Joint Bank Account if you go Bankrupt?
After you go bankrupt any account you have been using will normally be frozen by the bank. The OR can take control of any money in it over and above what you need for reasonable living expenses.
If you have any joint accounts the best way of protecting these is to take your name off before you go bankrupt. This should be a simple process if the account is in credit.
If your joint account is overdraw this debt will be included in your bankruptcy. However because it is in joint names with your partner they will still be liable to repay the overdraft in full.
You are allowed to have a bank account in your own name once you are bankrupt. Normally it is best to open a new account before going through the process. There are a number of basic accounts that you can choose from.
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