Will I be responsible for my partner's debts on credit cards and loans?

5 January 2016


I have been given £25,000 by my mother.The problem is my partner is in debt to the tune of around £20,000 on credit cards and loans.

I’m worried that if he goes bankrupt or gets an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), my money could be affected.

We are not married but have been together for 20 years and live together in a rented home.

How can I protect my money?



If you have signed a joint tenancy, then you are jointly and severally liable to meet the rent on that property.

If your partner does not pay his share of the rent, then the landlord will expect you to cover it.

Other than this, you are not liable for your partner’s debt and your money cannot be used to repay this debt if you are not married. Living together does not mean you are responsible for his debts.

You are each responsible for your own debts and you cannot make a claim against the other’s assets. You will only be jointly financially liable for any financial arrangements you have entered into together.

In order to protect your money, you should deposit it in a savings account in your sole name and keep this completely separate from your partner’s money and financial dealings.

You should also avoid entering into financial arrangements together, such as joint bank accounts, credit cards, loans or property.

If you did that, then your partner’s poor money management could start to affect your own credit rating and if he fell behind on repayments for those joint financial commitments, your own money could be at risk.

If you become aware that your partner might be made bankrupt or get an IVA, you should consult a specialist bankruptcy solicitor for further advice in advance.

Sarah Hughes is a family solicitor at Anthony Gold Solicitors.