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Does my husband have to pay the bills until we are divorced in the UK?

By , on Tuesday April 16, 2024 at 10:52 am

Understanding your financial responsibilities during a separation is incredibly important. Given the significant change in circumstances that a divorce can represent, there can often be some confusion concerning who is obligated to pay for household bills until the divorce is confirmed.

While a divorce application is ongoing, typical household bills, such as mortgage payments, utility bills and council tax, should be paid in exactly the same way as they were during the course of the marriage.

If your separated husband has stopped paying bills, there are several potential solutions, such as agreeing interim financial support through spousal maintenance.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you are at odds with your husband over their financial responsibilities during separation, our team can provide comprehensive support.

Does a husband have to support his wife during separation?

Separation and utility bills can be a complex issue. A divorce or separation does not release either party from their pre-existing financial obligations. So, if both you and your husband are jointly responsible for paying household bills (for example, the mortgage), you will both continue to be accountable for doing so, no matter the circumstances of your separation.

What happens if my husband stops paying bills?

If household bills are not paid in full, this can result in County Court Judgements (CCJs) being handed out. Generally, the person whose name appears on the bill will be penalised for any late repayments for a household bill. Records of judgments are retained for 6 years unless you pay the full amount of a CCJ within a month, which can make it harder to get credit.

What can I do if my husband refuses to pay bills?

If your husband is refusing to pay their share of the bills during divorce, and this is causing financial difficulties, it may be necessary to apply to a family court, who can then make a financial order such as interim spousal maintenance.

While it is technically possible to reach a voluntary agreement over spousal maintenance, this is unlikely to be possible if your husband is already refusing to uphold their financial responsibilities during separation.

The amount of spousal maintenance that can be paid will depend on your needs, your own income and your ability to earn income. There are no set formulas, and the amount payable will also depend on the payer’s net income and their own needs, amongst various other factors.

Your entitlement to receive spousal maintenance ends if you remarry in the future.

If you have any questions surrounding your entitlement to receive spousal maintenance, our team will be happy to advise you.

Please note that spousal maintenance is different to child maintenance. Child maintenance is financial support that is only used to contribute towards a child’s everyday living costs – not as a way of directly supporting either spouse during a divorce.

What is financial responsibility during separation or divorce?

Irresponsible spending during the period between separation and divorce could potentially result in a significant reduction in the overall assets that are available in the matrimonial pot.

This means, in theory, a smaller matrimonial pot will mean that both you and your husband will have less to share out in a financial settlement.

If one party has not demonstrated financial responsibility and has spent a large amount of your joint assets, they could be seen as attempting to deprive you of your fair share. Therefore, if your husband has demonstrated financial irresponsibility, the court could penalise them and reduce their share of the matrimonial pot.

Our solicitors are here for you

We understand just how distressing it can be if your husband has stopped paying bills. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is vital that you understand your legal position and what options are available to you moving forward.

If you have any concerns about divorce, separation and utility bills, our expert family law solicitors will work alongside you to help clarify your position and options moving forward.

To take advantage of your free 30-minute consultation with an expert local family law solicitor, call 0800 321 3832 or complete our quick online form.

Abby Smith
Family lawyer St Neots

Blog Author - Abby Smith

Abby SmithAbby Smith

Abby is a divorce and family lawyer based in Cambridgeshire. Abby has a great deal of experience in all areas of family law having practised solely in this area since 2003.


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