Newly separated & husband hidden debt

Please can anyone advise?  I am newly separated from my husband of over 30 years and I have found he has accrued over £33K of debt without my knowledge. I have been told that the debt is in his name only.  My husband controlled all the finances, all my wages went into a joint account which he controlled and is in £500+ in overdraft.  I have spoken with the bank and they cannot remove my name until the overdraft is paid which I cannot do as my salary isn't enough.

He has moved in with a new partner and is asking me to contribute towards the debt as I 'benefitted' from it (holidays, jewelry and various repairs to the home we were sharing (paying rent) with my mother).  He wants £100 per month to be put into his account to pay the debts but I cannot afford to give him any money at all.  I am on minimum wage and after regaining control and having my salary put into my own new private account I will just about be able to cover my essentials (rent, fuel, car insurance, moil phone tariff and food).  I am looking for extra work to fit around my current job  to give myself a little extra to save for yearly expenses such as MOT and any other unexpected bills that I might find.

My question is, as the debt was accrued without my knowledge, but I did unknowingly benefit, do I legally have to help pay for the debts?  I cannot ask my family to help financially as they have young families and are struggling themselves. 

Any help in clarifying where I stand in regards to the debt would be really helpful.
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Comments

  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,235
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    edited 9 February at 11:41AM
    With regards to the joint account, I would tell the bank it’s in dispute and get them to freeze it to prevent him from running up an even bigger overdraft. 

    If he hid the debts from you, and they are in his name then my starting point would be just to tell him to do one. 
     If he gave you gifts of jewellery, and you had no clue he was getting into debt to do that, that’s down to his poor financial management, not down to you. The same with holidays. 

    I would also add that putting money  directly into his account gives no guarantee that it will actually go towards the debts, and given his record so far, you may end up just subsidising his continuing lifestyle choices.


    Could you clarify a bit more about the repairs to the house – why you did them rather than the landlord, what they were for, what sort of value they would be?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 8,960
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    Did you own property together?

    The general starting point is all assets and debts are added together and shared equally between you. If they are going to retain all the debts then they get a larger share of the assets to offset. 
  • DE_612183
    DE_612183 Posts: 1,583
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    Have you had a financial agreement as part of the settlement?

    If not you should get that sorted first and foremost.

    As @DullGreyGuy says - starting point is 50/50 but you should be able to work from that.

    As others have said - what is the asset ( house situation )?
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,235
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    edited 9 February at 12:30PM
    As the OP has said they were renting then presumably there isn't an asset/house situation?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,529
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    As debts are in his name. He has no legal right to request you to pay towards them. That is HIS problem. Hope his new partner is aware of these..
    You have been lucky here, as many find that loans have been taken in their name or further advances on mortgage etc in joint names.

    I would open a new sole acc & ask bank (joint acc) that this acc is now in dispute to stop any further use of it. It will then be a case of working between you to pay off the O/D.
    Life in the slow lane
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,235
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    edited 9 February at 1:35PM
    Ultimately it would be down to a court to decide who benefited most and who is liable 

    However, without any financial agreement, there is no chance I would be paying anything into the ex- husband’s personal account.
    And if the OP can’t afford to pay it, then she can’t afford to pay it. 

    But this may be one to see if you can get a half hour free solicitors appointment for initial advice, or see if there is a law centre or anything similar near you who may be able to help. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • DE_612183
    DE_612183 Posts: 1,583
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    As debts are in his name. He has no legal right to request you to pay towards them. That is HIS problem. Hope his new partner is aware of these..
    You have been lucky here, as many find that loans have been taken in their name or further advances on mortgage etc in joint names.

    I would open a new sole acc & ask bank (joint acc) that this acc is now in dispute to stop any further use of it. It will then be a case of working between you to pay off the O/D.
    That's just plain wrong - what if it were the other way around and all the savings and investments were in his name - would you expect the wife to get nothing?
  • Kynthia
    Kynthia Posts: 5,659
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    This debt will be sorted during the divorce along with all other assets and debts, including vehicles, pensions, etc. There's no requirement for you to pay him anything at the moment.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • AskAsk
    AskAsk Posts: 2,392
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    i am going through a divorce myself and my situation is very different to yours but from the brief free initial conversations i have had with a couple of solicitors, debts and assets are shared between husband and wife, irrespective in whose name it is in.  you have to decide between you how to divide the assets or debts and if you can't the court will do it for you but it gets messy and expensive if you have to start fighting.

    you don't actually have to split assets through the court on a divorce but if you want the court to do this for you, then you need to request that as a separate request.  i wouldn't pay anything until you have a legal agreement on how to sort out assets and debts between you.

    do you have any assets between you?


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