My new partner has some debts that I am considering paying off for them. Is this a bad idea?

There is nothing wrong with you supporting your new partner, and nothing wrong with paying off a debt on their behalf.

Where so many people go wrong is not documenting what exactly is being done and by whom. Make sure you keep meticulous records of what was paid and how it was paid.

The cleanest and safest way to do a financial house-cleaning exercise in a new relationship is to draft a cohabitation agreement that you both sign. The agreement will lay out the details of the debts and assets and who will pay for what. It is also essential to include a plan for how the debt will be paid back in the event that your relationship breaks down.

The biggest risk for you of paying off someone else’s debt is that should you break up, there are no guarantees that that person will ever pay you back.

It is your prerogative to choose how you navigate the financial landscape of your new relationship, but it is smart to understand what you are getting into and any potential risks associated with your choices.

Any guidance provided is not covered by solicitor–client privilege, nor is it taking into consideration all of the facts of your matter beyond those in the question. The legal information is specific to British Columbia Law. If you want a more thorough and case-specific analysis of your legal matter, please contact us to arrange a consultation.

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