Dealing with debt when separating

Guide to help couples manage debt during and after a relationship breakdown.

The Australian Government has released a guide to help separating couples fairly resolve responsibility for joint and individual debts.

The resource, Separating with debt: a guide to your legal options is available online and provides clear, practical information and options to manage debts during and after separation.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said debts were one of the most difficult financial issues to resolve when separating, especially where there was financial abuse or family violence.

“One party, often the woman, may assume sole responsibility for joint and other debts due to a fear of credit default, bankruptcy, harassment from collection agencies or eviction,” Senator Payne said.

The guide is designed to provide clear and easy to access information  about proactively managing debt in the context of a relationship breakdown. 

It explains how debts may be treated as part of a family law property split and includes useful information to support separating couples achieve fair, enforceable outcomes about their debts. 

The guide also provides separating couples with a clearer understanding of the resources and pathways available to assist them in achieving a clean financial break.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the guide would assist to avoid situations where one party is left unfairly shouldering the burden of debts.

“Separating couples may not understand that consumer credit law options can assist when dealing with debts as part of a family law property dispute,” Senator Cash said.

“This guide puts relevant information together for users.”

Separating with debt: a guide to your legal options is available on the Attorney-General Department’s website.