MONEY CLINIC | My estranged husband didn't settle his debt, now I can't get vehicle finance

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To get a clearance certificate, both consumers need to pay up their debt or if the marital status has changed, prove that their marital status has legally changed.
To get a clearance certificate, both consumers need to pay up their debt or if the marital status has changed, prove that their marital status has legally changed.

A Fin24 reader married in community of property is struggling to acquire vehicle finance as her now estranged husband has not paid his debts. She writes: 

I’m married in community of property and went into debt review with my husband.

We cancelled debt review and decided to settle the debt ourselves. The problem now is, we are separated and my debt is paid in full, but I'm still struggling to get vehicle finance as my estranged husband didn’t settle his debt. What should I do?

Benay Sager, Chief Operating Officer at DebtBustersresponds:  

Some consumers who are under debt review choose to make their debt repayments directly to creditors.

While this is allowed, we usually discourage it because once a consumer chooses to do so, they lose the support and know-how that comes with having a debt counsellor. Your debt counsellor is and should be a partner who helps you navigate through the debt review process.

In this case, the consumer decided to go the journey on their own. If a consumer is married in community of property or has a joint account (often a bond), then both consumers are liable for repayment of the debt.

To get a clearance certificate, both consumers need to pay up their debt or, if the marital status has changed, prove that their marital status has legally changed. In this case, it sounds like the marital status has not legally changed.

As a result, this consumer is legally liable for the estranged husband’s debt, and would not be able to get a clearance certificate granted until that debt is settled.

Compiled by Allison Jeftha. 

  • Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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