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What is an IVA

IVA: Can we get a joint individual voluntary arrangement?

IVA stands for individual voluntary arrangement, meaning that the arrangement relates to just one individual.

This means you wouldn't be able to get a joint IVA, only an individual one.

You need to think carefully about an individual voluntary arrangement because it can affect different areas of your life, including your job, home and your ability to get credit in future.

IVAs are arranged by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, part of StepChange Debt Charity.

They aren't available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a protected trust deed is a similar solution, but has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

What are interlocking IVAs?

You can’t get an IVA in joint names. But if the best solution for both you and your partner is an IVA, you can each set up an IVA

These can be linked or ‘interlocking’ IVAs where they’re administered together and you make one joint payment between you. This helps to ensure that the contribution each person is making to their IVA is affordable, taking into account the amount both of you are paying into the household.

Clare Lindley and James O'Carroll of StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are licensed to act as insolvency practitioners in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.

mum at the table with bills

Thinking about going ahead with an IVA?

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Can joint debts be included in an IVA?

If you have a joint debt and enter into an IVA, the other person named on the debt will still be responsible for making payments towards it. If you have some of the debt written off in an IVA, the other person will still be asked to pay the remaining money back.

But if you and your partner both have an interlocking IVA, any joint debts you have will be included in both IVAs. The joint debts will get a payment from the interlocking IVAs and once they’ve ended anything still owing to the joint debts will be written off.

If you have joint debts and are thinking about entering into an IVA you should contact us for some advice first, so that we can let you know how it’ll affect you and the other person named on the debts.

Get free IVA advice

You can only get an IVA with the help of an insolvency practitioner. StepChange is an approved organisation to manage IVAs.


  1. The first step is to see whether an IVA is right for you. To do this use our free online advice tool
  2. If an IVA is the best solution to your debt problem our specialist company, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, can help you through the set up process
  3. We'll review your finances and put forward the IVA proposal to your creditors 

There are no up-front fees, and we won’t charge you for debt advice. Fees are detailed in your IVA proposal, which an IP will assist in drafting. Any fees have to be approved by creditors. Your IP will explain what fees you need to pay for your IVA.

StepChange Voluntary Arrangements is a registered trading name of Consumer Credit Counselling Service Voluntary Arrangements Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of StepChange Debt Charity.