Debt and Relationship Disputes

February 12, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

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Relationship counselling organisation Relate recently published new research on the link between finances and relationship problems: In too deep: an investigation into debt and relationships. The report explores the effects of debt on relationships, such as difficulty communicating, increased conflict, blame and mistrust, and the connection between financial issues and relationship breakdown. Conversely, the report reveals that relationship breakdown can also be a significant cause of debt problems, feeding into a vicious cycle where disagreements over financial worries lead to poor communication, resulting in the debt remaining unresolved.

According to Relate: ‘one in ten people in Britain have experienced a relationship breakdown due to debt, and one in ten argues with their partner about money, debt or finances as often as at least once a fortnight.’ The stress caused by debt often provoke feelings of shame, resentment, and can have a huge effect on relationships, especially if the extent of the debt is kept a secret from one party.

Approximately half of all debt advice clients hide details of debt from their partner, and communication is a fundamental element in dealing with debt, whether you stay together or decide to separate. Relate’s report highlighted the importance of good communication and the need for shared responsibility over money management and decision making. Hidden debt can be enormously detrimental to a couple’s relationship and their ability to deal with financial problems. The research found a significant demand for increased support in this area, with one in three people claiming they would benefit from help in communicating with their partner about their finances.

Financial issues can be a huge strain on relationships, and arguments over money and debt are often at the root of a relationship breakdown. During the separation process itself, disputes about assets, debts and liabilities frequently take centre stage, causing animosity, antagonism and resentment among couples – often to the detriment of both parties. However, even when a relationship is irretrievable, there are still ways of coming to a practical and positive resolution during separation. Out of court alternatives to divorce such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law offer a less formal platform for discussing relationship disputes with the support of an experienced family law solicitor or arbitrator.

For couples who feel able to sit down and work cooperatively, mediation can help to put a practical plan in place for debt management after separation, while collaborative family law is particularly suited to couples with children, who should always be placed at the centre of any decisions, particularly when there are financial troubles. For those who are past the point of objective cooperation, arbitration offers a private and effective method for dispute resolution using an impartial arbitrator who will consider both sides of the situation and reach a decision on your behalf. All these alternatives are generally quicker and less costly than going to court, and may help to re-open lines of communication that have shut down due to financial worries.

To speak to an experienced and down-to-earth family law solicitor about financial disputes or separation, visit Dealing with relationship breakdown and money worries is exhausting – let us take the weight off your shoulders and help you to find a practical way forward.


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