If your partner leaves you and stops paying the bills, what can you do?
Break-ups can be expensive, whether you’re married or cohabiting. If you’re unmarried and your partner has left home and stopped paying bills they have contributed to creating, chances are you’re in a state of panic and are wondering what to do next. One of the most important things to do in this situation is to find out exactly where you stand legally and see if there is anything you can do to resolve the problem. It’s always best to challenge any financial issues stemming from the end of a relationship immediately rather than waiting for your problems to worsen.
Prioritise your debts
If you don’t currently have the cash you need to pay all your bills, make a list and prioritise your debts. The most important debts usually include rent, mortgages, council tax, gas and electricity as these are the debts where non-payment or late payment could lead to the biggest consequences. If you know you will not be able to make bill payments on time, contact the companies or organisations in question right away to see if you can negotiate with them.
You are both liable to pay any debts that are in both of your names, but this can mean being forced to pay in full if your former partner won’t pay their share. It’s wise to do all you can to negotiate with your ex-partner to make them pay their share. The companies in question may be able to place restrictions on joint debts so your former partner can’t add to them.
Do you have a joint loan or mortgage with your partner? Not keeping up with repayments will affect both your credit ratings and ability to borrow more money in the future, so it will be in your ex-partner’s best interests to play ball and work with you rather than against you.
Forging a fair agreement
If your partner refuses to co-operate or helps you initially then doesn’t contribute to bills you have both run up, keep the lender or bank in the loop. You may be able to consult the Financial Ombudsman Service if you have explained the situation to the company and don’t think they are treating you with fairness. In either case, it’s likely to benefit both parties if a fair agreement can be made so one partner isn’t hit harder than the other financially due to the end of the relationship.
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