If you are struggling with your debts you may feel that you are not ready to tell your partner or spouse about the problem.
In this situation a Debt Management Plan (DMP) could be an ideal debt solution for you to choose. The reason for this is that the Plan is an informal agreement between you and your creditors and it is possible that your Partner will not find out about it unless you actually chose to tell them.
Unlike more formal debt solutions a DMP is not advertised and your name will not be included on any register. Having said that it may be difficult for you to keep your financial situation from your partner particularly if you live together or have joint debts.
Given this we consider if starting a DMP without letting your partner know is possible, whether not doing this is a good idea and how they might be affected even if you do not tell them.
Should I tell my partner if I start a Debt Management Plan?
You do not have to tell your Partner about the fact that you are planning to start a DMP. The Plan is simply an informal agreement between you and your creditors to reduce your debt repayments.
Having said letting your Partner know (however hard you think this may be) could really help you while you are in the Plan. Simply having emotional support from them can really help when dealing with your creditors. If you explain that you have a solution to repay the debt you owe this will help your partner see you are in control.
In addition you need to understand that once you have started the agreement you will need to live within a strict living expenses budget to enable you to afford your ongoing Plan payments. This will be all the more difficult if your Partner does not understand why you are doing it.
BMD Tip: If your partner understands your situation it is possible that together you could make small cuts in your living expenses enabling you to pay more back towards your debts that would make a big difference to the length of your DMP.
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Do I have to tell my creditors about my Partner’s income if I start a DMP?
Because a DMP is an informal agreement with your creditors there is no need for you to give them any details about your partner’s income.
When negotiating what you can afford to pay them each month you are only obliged to give details of your monthly income and the amount you need to spend out of this to cover the monthly living expenses that you are responsible for.
BMD Tip: Although it is not necessary to do so if you are able to provide information to your creditors about your total household income and living expenses including those of your Partner this may help them understand that you are offering as much as you can afford and encourage them to accept your payment offer.
If you do tell your creditors about your Partner’s income they will not have to pay towards your debts unless any of these are in joint names.
What if my Partner and I have joint debts?
If you have any joint debts which are currently being paid by you then you need to understand that if you include these in a DMP the creditor is quite within their rights to chase your Partner for payment. If this happens they will immediately discover that there is a problem and it will inevitably lead to difficult questions about your situation.
Given this if you have decided not to inform your partner you may want to consider leaving joint debts out of your Plan and continuing to pay these as normal.
Leaving a debt out is possible given the informality of the agreement however it is not usually recommended. By doing so you will have to find sufficient funds to maintain the payments. If you included a specific budget in your living expenses to do this it could antagonise the creditors you include in the plan resulting in them refusing to accept your plan payments.
Could my partner will find out about my DMP even if I do not tell them?
It is important to understand that starting a DMP will not immediately stop your creditors collection activities. It is highly likely that you will continue to receive payment demand letters and phone calls for at least 3 months after making your first payment until each creditor agrees to the payment proposal you have made.
If you live with your Partner they may therefore find out about your situation simply because of the amount of demanding phone calls and letters you are likely to receive during the first few months.
BMD Tip: It is important to understand that a DMP goes not give you legal protection from your creditors. As such even after you have started your Plan it is possible that further action could be taken against you such as an application for a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or a Charging Order against your property if you are a home owner.
In these circumstances it would become even more likely that your partner could discover the extent of your financial difficulties.
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