Whether or not you want to, the fact of any ending relationship is that if you have debt, you need to deal with it. Not taking the time to review shared debts or whose name is in debt can lead to bills not getting paid, and this can ruin your credit rating.
If you’ve been living together with your significant other in a marriage-like situation, then you are going to be held to the same standards for debts after you separate as married people would be during a divorce.
In British Columbia, the law treats those who have lived together for two years or longer exactly the same as someone who is married. Your debts are going to be shared equally, no matter whose name they’re in. The family property also is shared equally, so if you had a home together, be prepared to split up your assets.
When you’re living together, you can make an agreement that will allow you to divide your debts unequally. This agreement works similarly to a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, which prevents you from taking on certain debts that are created during your relationship or those brought into your relationship.
People who you owe money to, like your creditors, can normally only collect debts from the person who signed for the debt, so in cases where you have private credit cards or loans, you’ll need to pay those back. However, if you signed a lease for an apartment with both of your names, then you can be held jointly responsible and will need to sort out the debt one way or the other.
Source: Legal Services Society, “Dealing with debts after separation (for married and common-law couples),” accessed April. 23, 2015
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