Getting married can affect your debt relief order (DRO) in some situations. This article explains everything you need to know about married couples and debt relief orders.
Does getting married affect my DRO?
There is nothing to stop someone getting married when they have a Debt Relief Order. Your partner will not be affected.
Your DRO is based on a set of qualifying criteria and can be revoked if you no longer meet the criteria. Getting married does not automatically mean that someone’s financial situation improves. You may need to notify the DRO unit of any changes as a result of your marriage and you will be provided with information on who to notify when your DRO is in place. Changes that could affect your DRO might be; you receive cash or assets above the permitted values at that time, or perhaps your income & expenditure changes and you have more than £50 a month available to pay towards debts.
Please note, you would not be allowed to budget for a hotel or restaurant, reception, or for a honeymoon until you finish your DRO. As you would only be permitted to use your £50 surplus.
What if someone else is paying for the wedding?
Is someone else pays for your wedding, then it depends on the ownership of the assets to whether your DRO will be affected.
For example, if your parents buy a dress, they own it, let you wear it on your wedding day and then keep it you do not own an asset of any value as it is owned by your parents. If they buy a dress at £1,000 and give it to you then it has already dropped in value, as it is now 2nd hand, but is likely to be worth over £300.
Whilst you are subject to a DRO you will need to advise the DRO unit if you receive an asset that would take you outside of the eligibility criteria for a DRO and this means an asset worth £300 or more. For example, if an asset, which could be cash, is received with a value of up to £700 it may mean the DRO is not revoked as long as you have notified the DRO unit within 14 days on the change of circumstances form. Cash received at £700 and above means, you will have to discuss with them why your DRO should not be revoked and this will be decided on a case by case basis.
If you receive an asset once the DRO is in place and do not advise the DRO unit then you risk the DRO being revoked. If you notify them of the gift received then there is a possibility that the DRO might not be revoked.
What if I marry someone who owns their own property?
Sometimes this can result in no change to the DRO at all and sometimes it means that the DRO is revoked.
Changing your living arrangements may mean that your income and expenditure has changed to an extent that means you still cannot afford to pay anything towards your debts or it may mean that you now have over £50 a month left over after all daily living costs are covered and this could mean that the DRO is revoked.
For example, if by moving into somebody else’s house it means that, after looking at income and expenditure, you now have more money left over then the DRO could be revoked. If your income has stayed the same then it could be that your daily living costs are now higher or lower than the amounts listed in your original DRO application.
Because you are already subject to the requirements of the DRO you will need to contact the DRO unit and advise them of the changes and they will let you know what effect, if any, the changes have to your DRO. Please read our article on how a DRO can affect your property.