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divorce and debt

  • susan jones
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25 May 12 #332828 by susan jones
Topic started by susan jones
my husband before we were married had a debt of 400k (which he hid from me for 3 years) I only discovered he had this massive debt when he was made bankcrupt.Now that we are going through the divorce settlement the recivers want their 400k as at the time of his bankcrupcy he declared he had nothing! which effectively he didnt because everything was in my name because he was a house husband and I was the one who went out to work. My question is, should this debt be ''ringfenced'' as a pre aquired debt(just like an asset would be) so we go ahead with the divorce settlement and the receivers go after their money from hi share of the settlement. It would seem unfair to me if I had to pay effectively half of his debt before the settlement is done as this debt was created before I even met him.

  • Support4U
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25 May 12 #332835 by Support4U
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Debt before marriage acquired by one party remains his debt and you mention this during the Ancillary Relief proceedings. What your ex gets from the matrimonial pot is what he put in and this does not include you paying his debts before the marriage. He actually declared that he had nothing from the marriage so take his statement and put it in front of the court. Bankruptcy becomes his problem, not yours. Deal with the divorce and get out. No court in this country should make you liable for his debts before the marriage. Make sure that you have hard evidence before the court that his debts were before the marriage. You can also show to the court that he probably used you for financial reasons. It all gets recorded on form E and sworn statement.

  • LittleMrMike
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25 May 12 #332842 by LittleMrMike
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Susan,
As far as I can see, if your husband had this debt before marriage, then there seems to be no way in which you could yourself be liable to the creditors unless you guaranteed it. Although a divorce court does have the power/right to re-allocate debts, that usually happens where a debt had been taken on for some purchase or project which benefits both parties ( for example, for a new central heating boiler ) where the Courts would tend to regard a debt as joint if it were incurred for the common weal.
My instinctive reaction is that, given the debt pre-dated the marriage, it is hard to see how you could or would be expected to be responsible for the whole or any part of it.
A bankruptcy order can relate only to your husband''s assets, not yours. Where a property is in joint names, there are special rules but you say it''s in yours, so we don''t need to consider them. but as you know, the Court does have powers of redistribution, so the fact that a property is in your name is not conclusive.
Your husband, like any other bankrupt, will have to have somewhere to live, and he will have to retain some assets. You don''t say what assets you have but I haven''t come across this situation before, namely where a husband is already bankrupt and a trustee will be after his share, subject to the overall requirement that he has enough to live on at the end of the day.
I think this is a bit specialist quite honestly. and would advise that you take advice from an experienced family law solicitor.
LMM

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