Skip to the content

Going through a separation or divorce is a challenging time and this can be further complicated if there are shared bills and debts.  While dealing with a potentially unexpected change in your situation will be a stressful time, it’s important that you get a full picture of your financial situation in order to manage and service any debts which arise or increase as a result of your separation.

Who is liable for debts following a divorce

Both parties may still be liable for unpaid debts

Who is liable for debts following a divorce?

The responsibility for paying off debts following a separation depends on when they were incurred and who benefitted from its use.

If money was borrowed before a break-up and was only used by the applicant, then that individual is responsible for that repayment.

However, if a loan was taken out by one partner but both shared the benefits, such as a home improvement, then both will be held responsible.

Credit card debts are the sole responsibility of the named individual on the account and additional card holders will not be held liable

Joint Liability

Shared debts such as banks loans and overdraft are more complicated. Even if an individual is instructed to pay off a shared debt by a financial court order, if they fail to pay, lenders can still pursue either party named on the loan agreement for the full amount of the debt.

This is known as joint and several liability as both parties are seen to be jointly and solely liable. Matrimonial Law and Bankruptcy Law can conflict in certain situations. We advise that you seek your own legal advice in relation to matrimonial issues.

Professional support when you need it

We will help you organise your debts

At TC Debt Solutions, we know the problems that can arise from a divorce or separation and how quickly these can spiral out of control. As debt specialists, our experienced advisers can guide you through the steps you need to take to help you manage your divorce debts.

If you are struggling with divorce debts and are looking for a way forward, you can email us 24 hours a day on

What will happen to my property if I get divorced

Selling the property may be the only option

What will happen to my property if I get divorced?

If you have a joint mortgage, joint and several liability will apply so both parties can be pursued to pay off the balance. If neither party is able to service the debt, then selling the property may be the only option.

In the case of a divorce, both parties have occupancy rights to the property, meaning that even if one is not named on the mortgage agreement, they have the right to stay and even if they choose to leave, they have access rights.

Even if one partner is the sole owner, they cannot sell the property if the other chooses to remain living there. Ultimately, if one party decides to stay in the home, they will have to buy out their partner following an independent valuation. The same rights also apply to civil partners and cohabitees.

Make sure you know the exact date

What about the division of property?

To ensure accuracy in valuation of all property, the exact date of a separation is required before the valuation of any property. Section 9 of the Family Law (Scotland) Act sets out the criteria by which property is divided.

Broadly, this includes:

  • The net value of the property
  • The earning potential of each party
  • The needs and welfare of any children under 18
  • The reasonable needs of each party

It will depend on income and savings

Can I get help with the legal costs of divorce?

Depending on your income, your partner’s income, and your savings, you may be able to get legal aid to help with the costs associated with of going through the legal process of divorce.

This will be at the discretion of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Don't panic

What if I am dealing with other unmanageable debts as well as overdraft debts?

It is quite often the case that people struggling with overdraft debts are also trying to deal with a range of other unsecured debts too.

This simply reflects general financial difficulties that anyone can find themselves in, given the right set of circumstances.  If this is you, don’t panic, there are ways of dealing with such situations.

Debt Arrangement Scheme

One way, if you live in Scotland, is a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).  Set up by the Scottish Government, the Debt Arrangement Scheme is a useful alternative to insolvency.

It is an effective way of preventing aggressive court actions being taken by creditors including HMRC,  banks, etc. and it allows you to manage your unsecured debts and work your way to a debt-free and much happier future.

Protected Trust Deed

Other options we can explore with you include a Protected Trust Deed if you are dealing with unsecured debts of £5,000 or more, and you live in Scotland.

A Protected Trust Deed will help you pay off your debts while making life much easier for you and those close to you.

Although it is a form of insolvency, it is really simply a formal agreement between you and your creditors.


If you are a resident in Scotland and have over £3,000 of unsecured debts that you cannot pay back, then bankruptcy may be an option for you.

It gives you a way out of what can be seemingly overwhelming debt. Filing for bankruptcy in the right circumstances, can be the correct thing to do.

It is best to take expert advice before considering bankruptcy.

Free & Confidential Consultation


If you have been contacted by Sheriff Officers about Council Tax arrears, or to find out about your legal rights, complete our short form and we will contact you straight back.

Start solving your debt problems today.

Available Mon - Fri, 9am - 5:30pm

Speak To Us Today

It is FREE to chat with one of our trusted Debt Advisers.