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Getting married and debt

Getting married can be one of the biggest, most exciting events in a person’s life. It can also be one of the most expensive. Many couples end up relying on credit to pay for the ceremony, which can put them thousands of pounds into debt.

We know that debt and the worry it causes can be very damaging to your personal relationships. Arguments and stress are normal in a relationship, but debt can often make these issues worse.

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Building a life with someone else

Many people find that their lives and priorities change when they move in with and eventually marry someone. They have to take someone else into account when thinking of living expenses such as food and household bills.

If you’ve agreed to get married, it would be wise to give yourself plenty of time to save up for the various costs involved. According to Brides Magazine, in 2015 the average British wedding cost around £24,000.

If you’re unsure how much your wedding may cost, a wedding calculator such as this one from Hello Magazine may help.

Sit down with your fiancé and work out what you can afford to spend. As the months pass, you’ll find out more about how much things such as the wedding dinner, attire and entertainment will cost. Make sure you regularly review these costs to ensure you can realistically afford them.

Will I inherit my partner’s debt if we get married?

You’re liable for any debts in your own name only, but not for any debts only in your partner’s name. If you get married, you won’t be responsible for any credit agreements or financial obligations that your partner had beforehand.

If, however, you take out a joint loan or a mortgage or open up a bank account together, you’ll both be liable for these debts. This is called 'joint and several liability’. Residents of England and Wales are also jointly liable for any council tax debt they may owe on their property, irregardless of which one of you actually pays the bill or not. Joint debts taken out by unmarried couples work in the same way.

We’re in debt after getting married – what can we do?

If you’re dealing with debt as a result of an expensive wedding, please don’t worry. Free and confidential debt advice is available. We can help you get your finances back on track, so you can focus on building a happy and sustainable future with the one you love.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2018