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what do with joint bills etc??

  • BITTERSWEET's Avatar Posted by
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05 Mar 08 #15819 by BITTERSWEET
Topic started by BITTERSWEET
Hi all,
my sis is separated from her husband (he is having an affair) and has moved into my parents short-term, they have house together which they will be selling. However the husband is up to his neck in debt and my sis currently pays most of the bills etc. Should she phone comps to change direct debits etc? will she have bad credit if he doesn't pay half?

I'm trying to get her to see a solicitor but she says she's too upset at the moment. :(

any ideas??

  • mike62
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08 Mar 08 #16123 by mike62
Reply from mike62
If the bills or debts are joint, then your sister needs to ensure that they are paid. She is jointly and severally liable for them. What this means is that even if she pays half of the bills, the utility company or loan company will come after both of then for the full amount of the money. They are not interested in who paid what. They just want their money and will pursue both parties for it.

It would be very sensible for your sister to approach the creditors and explain that divorce proceedings are underway or imminent and to seek the help of the local citizen's advice. If she can afford it, see a solicitor as soon as possible. Many offer a free initial 30 min consultation. The emotional trauma of these events often clouds our judgement and thank goodness she has a sister to look out for her. Gentle persuasion, support and lots of hugs are what is needed right now.

Best of luck


  • Elizabeth
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08 Mar 08 #16124 by Elizabeth
Reply from Elizabeth
Hello Bittersweet,

My suggestion would be to hold out on the solicitor at the present time - they will not be any help with regards to the bill situ - it will only escalate the cost which is easily sorted out by contacting the companies who the debts are with (as it seems obvious the husband is not going to take any action/responsibility). If the debts are in joint names whatever they are - bank accounts - credit cards - BOTH parties are liable - but in my experience if one person will not pay there is not a lot that can be done - the companies are obliged to write to both parties they will both receive the same letters and if it goes to a debt collector then unfortunately it affects both parties not just the one who isn't paying - really unfair but the companies/banks will not get involved beyond this - can you imagine the fall-out if they did?!

Maybe try the Citizens Advice Bureau to start but not a solicitor - your sister is not ready by the sounds of things - the sorting out of the debts I would think is a priority. The debts won't go away and must be handled even just by making small payments to keep things ticking over.

I hope this is not gloomy news but I have experienced this - a joint bank account - nearly got to CCJ level - it was only 100 pounds overdrawn! It can be as little as a fiver and still get a CCJ!

Would like to hear your comments...

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