When one household splits in two there are always going to be financial implications in that there will be two sets of bills and two sets of mortgages or rent which all need to be paid from the same amount of income that previously serviced just one home.

The most expensive payment is usually the mortgage or rent. If you are the person who has moved out of the home then you need to check whether your name is on the tenancy agreement or the mortgage deed. If it is then you will be liable to pay that outgoing until such time as the home is either transferred to the other person or it is sold. If your joint names appear on the mortgage then you should be aware that in all likelihood this means you will both be as liable as one another to pay the whole instalment each month. This is known as joint and several liability and means that if payments are missed, the mortgage company can pursue either of you separately or both of you together to repay the outstanding amount, regardless of who is the one remaining in the home. It is not the case that you are each liable to pay 50% of the instalment.

You cannot merely telephone a mortgage company and ask to have your name removed from the mortgage deed unless your ex partner consents to that and they can prove to the mortgage company that they can afford the instalments on their own. If your ex partner and the mortgage company both consent then you should have an agreement drawn up by a Solicitor dealing with that and all other financial matters either as part of divorce proceedings or if you are not married you can have a separation agreement. Coveyancing Solicitors can then be asked to transfer both the mortgage and the house into the name of one party.

In terms of bills then the person named on the bill is liable to pay it. If you move out of the home you might want to telephone the utility companies to have your name removed from the bills. That can usually be done without a court order or the consent of your ex partner.

In relation to any outgoings then you should appreciate that if you are married, your estranged spouse can apply to Court for maintenance from you (over and above child maintenance) to help them pay the bills. This is known as spousal maintenance. You should also appreciate that if you fail to offer any financial support to your estranged spouse after the separation, that could come back to haunt you when your financial case is decided. In a recent case, a husband was ordered to transfer 100% of the matrimonial assets to his ex-wife because of his complete lack of financial support for her and their children after the separation.

If you are not married then your ex-partner can only claim child maintenance from you. They cannot claim any maintenance for their own benefit to help with bills. You should however think about the welfare of any children and ensure that they have a roof over their heads and food on the table.

If you are the person who is left in the house then you should arrange to receive a single person discount applied to your council tax. You might also be entitled to (more) tax credits to help meet your income needs. Sometimes, the mortgage company will agree to a payment holiday or to transfer the mortgage to an interest only rate if you are struggling to meet the repayments. If you are married then think about speaking to a Solicitor about making a claim for spousal maintenance from your estranged spouse if you are unable to meet your daily outgoings. If there are children involved make sure your ex partner pays you child maintenance at an agreed rate or through the Child Maintenance Service if this cannot be agreed.