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Can DH be pursued for ex-wife's debt? Help please.

(9 Posts)
monstermunching70s Mon 22-Apr-13 17:47:06

DH and ex had an arrangement whereby he paid the mortgage and she paid the bills. He never put his name on any contracts for utilities etc but I seem to recall that simply by being married he may still be legally jointly liable. DH left the marital home in March 2008 and the divorce was finalised in OCt 2010. Ex hadn't paid British Gas from Aug 2006 to when the property they owned was sold in May 2012, a sum amounting to over £1500. DH was not aware of this and thought all debts she had run up (there were lots) had been settled out of the equity she received from the sale of the property. Debt has now been passed to a debt collector who are pursuing him for the money. They have said they will accept a proportion for the dates that he was actually there. Can anyone advise? Is he liable for any of this debt and can it still be pursued after all of this time (have some vague recollection of a limitation act on timescale involved in pursuing debts where no payments have been made), particularly as he had no knowledge of this debt at all. Any help gratefully received.....

RedHelenB Mon 22-Apr-13 18:09:52

Yes he's liable if his name is on the bill & he lived there.

monstermunching70s Mon 22-Apr-13 18:54:49

For the whole amount? Even though no contact had been with him to notify him of any problems? Prior to the debt collection agency contacting him he was completely unaware any debt had been run up at all. He is the type to just pay the whole thing to have done with it and avoid any more to do with ex and I really don't want him to do this as not only can we not afford it (like everyone at the moment things are very tight and we have two very young children) but it also seems vastly unfair (albeit I know fairness is not often a consideration in such cases).

RedHelenB Mon 22-Apr-13 22:57:31

No, up until he left - his responsibility to let the energy company know he has left though!

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 23-Apr-13 08:40:46

Did he have the responsibility for these debts detailed in the financial consent order? If he did then showing this to the utility companies should help. If he didn't get a financial consent order there is a good chance that this is the first of many to come.

INeedALieIn Tue 23-Apr-13 08:51:46

Fight it and say no. They will persue whoever appears to be the more willing and responsive party, implying it is their responsibility to settle the debt. Firmly say it is the ex's responsibility. Be persistent. Provide contact details for the ex.

monstermunching70s Wed 24-Apr-13 12:36:28

Not sure what a financial consent order is. He did a very simple divorce, there were no kids and she continued to live in the property for 4 years after they split (with him still paying the mortgage until the beginning of 2011 even though he did not need to do so as had not lived there since March 2008, something else which seems grossly unfair as she has taken advantage of his good nature all along and she still quibbled about this arrangement even when he explained that he now had a new wife and a baby at this point and could not afford to pay both - can I add that she is employed and has been all along, but has simply run up numerous credit card/ catalogue debts etc. etc. so is just a spendthrift and expects others to bail her out). When the property sold in May 2012 he handed her half the equity, all quite amicable, or so it seemed, until she has passed our address to the utility company/ debt collectors. He is wanting to pay at present just to get them off his back and so he does not have to deal with his ex any more but as lonecatwithkitten says I am worried this is the first of many to come and dont' think he should pay anything. I have got him at least to chase British Gas and clarify firstly if his name was even on the bill, and there is some uncertainty about clerk thinks it might even just have said MR....... but no actual name, in which case I definitely don't think he should pay.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 24-Apr-13 14:45:13

A financial consent order is the legal separation of their finances without it she can keep coming back at him again and again. From what I can see as a lay person this is one of the big problems with quickie cheap divorces is that no one tells you this. He can still get a financial consent order and stop this, but probably needs to see a solicitor.

monstermunching70s Wed 24-Apr-13 20:44:57

Thanks lonecatwithkitten. Will get clarification on whether he was named on bill and will then see if solicitor needed.

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