Older Couples and Debts Questions
My friend and I have both lost our original partners and have started a new relationship with each other. It is possible that we may even start living together in the future. I do not know very much about his finances and wonder if I would become liable for his debts if we started to live together.
The short answer is “no.” Just because you start living together that does not mean that you have any obligation to pay the debts of your partner. It does not matter whether or not you are just living together, have a common-law relationship or get married. Debts always remain with the person who originally obtained the credit.
A word of caution. If your partner asks you to sign any papers on his old debts or if he asks you if you want a supplemental credit card from his visa or mastercard (these are sold as “family” cards) – be careful as you are probably signing a document making yourself liable for the entire debt owing on the card. Similarly, if you both decide to apply for a new joint bank loan or credit card, you must be aware that you will each be liable for 100% of the debt regardless of who charges on the credit card and regardless of whether or not you stay together.
In the early stages of a new relationship, it is wise to keep your finances separate until you are very sure of your future relationship together. Even then, if your partner is self-employed and needs to sign a bank loan or other debt for his business, I would advise you to get independent legal advice before you sign anything. Banks and other lenders ask for a second person to sign on the loan when they are not 100% sure that the borrower is going to pay the loan back or does not have enough security to cover the loan balance if a default occurs. If you are asked to sign anything always ask: “why”?
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