40% of Brits went over their budget and spent more than intended. With credit card bills likely to arrive in the next few days, one in ten said they would resort to hiding bills, receipts and expenditure from their other half.
More than a quarter are concerned that their extravagance will come back to haunt them with many worrying that it will cause tension with their partner and that the family will face hardship in the coming months because of it.
Research commissioned by family law specialists Slater and Gordon of 2,000 married Brits, revealed that the most common cause of arguments between couples was money.
The average married couple spent £560.47 on presents for Christmas and 14 per cent of those asked said that January has been stressful as a result of their expenditure during December.
She said, “If a relationship is in trouble then money problems can tip it right over the edge. Most people have no idea about what they or their partner are liable for when it comes to dealing with debt.
“Often people think everything will be split 50/50 but this isn’t always the case. If you have been spending money that hasn’t been for the benefit of the household then your partner may not be liable for half of it.
“Likewise if your partner has racked up a huge amount of debt in their name rather than joint names, then you may be in a better position that you think.”
More than one in four people have had debt collectors turn up on their doorstep to collect a debt their partner had incurred that they weren’t aware of, and a further 5% of married Brits say they fear the bailiffs will come knocking.
Nearly three quarters admitted they would not know their legal rights in that situation.
A quarter of married couples don’t have joint bank accounts or credit cards with many saying admitting that they don’t trust their partner to stick to budgets, and that knowing how each other spent their money would cause arguments.
Understandably one in ten have been guilty of dipping into their joint accounts without telling their partner, while a similar number suspect their partner is spending more than they should be.
Almost a third confront their partner about money issues, with one in ten saying it always turns into an argument, while the same number say they feel like they’re constantly nagging their partner.
One in five said they would refuse to help their partner out if they got themselves in to debt, while 60% said they would expect their partner to help bail them out.
Amanda McAlister said, “The fact is if the debt is in joint names it can be very hard to not find yourself liable for the expenditure. You would have to convince the Court and show evidence that it isn’t your debt. This can be costly and time consuming. If your partner has a history of being bad with money then you need to be aware of what they are spending and if they are living within their means.
“These kind of disputes happen a lot and trying to find evidence on where the money was spent and how can be very tricky. The best way forward is to agree budgets and stick to them and more importantly to be honest with your partner if you have got yourself in debt. ”
Amanda McAlister is a Principal Family Law Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
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