Joint or Interlocking IVA

Two is definitely better than one. But can the same be said when it comes to debt? Being a couple and having a great relationship with someone is definitely one of the joys in life, however, when debt comes into the picture, it could be more stressful than one would like. Thankfully, there are some debt solutions like Joint Interlocking IVAs which benefit couples.

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So, whether you’re married, a civil couple, or an unmarried pair, this solution may be what you need. If you’re thinking about submitting an application for joint IVAs, then read on for in this article, we’ll give you some debt advice by discussing what a joint IVA is and whether or not you can use one to manage your debts with your spouse.

What is a Joint IVA?

An “interlocking IVA” is a term used to describe a couple’s Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) that are joint. Using both the income, bills and other acceptable expenses, the monthly payment for this shared debt arrangement is computed on a household basis.

If you have a financial relationship with another person, such as a spouse, child, or civil partner, then you may be able to propose interlocking IVAs to deal with your debts together. By working with the same Insolvency Practitioner (IP) or money advice service, you can get a joint IVA together. In addition, you can make one monthly aggregated payment into your interlocking IVAs (such as annual reviews) and keep an eye on the ongoing administration of your IVAs.

In contrast to interlocking IVAs, which consist of two independent proposals – one for each individual – they result in a single agreement and contribution in the form of a payback offer for both parties’ obligations. This joint debt agreement does not imply that either party is liable for the other’s debts. So, you won’t be liable for any debt that is not your own.

The main advantages of this are that the arrangement will only be responsible for one set of fees, and creditors may be able to achieve a higher return on their money than if two separate arrangements were offered. It also allows these people to make a single monthly payment, which might make things easier to handle, especially if you’re used to sharing your cash. As a result, it allows people who have a solid financial relationship to work together to pay off their debts and better prepare for their financial futures together.

One thing to keep in mind is that the IVA’s success is contingent on the insolvency practitioner and debt advice of both individual’s and the individual’s creditors keeping their promises. There’s a chance that if one person doesn’t follow through, the other will suffer as a result. In some cases, however, a modification to the Proposal that splits the Arrangements into two independent IVAs to remove their interdependence can be used to alleviate this problem.

How do they work?

Applying for combined IVAs for shared debts is a little more difficult than setting up IVAs for a single person, but we try to keep things as simple as possible.

When you create an IVA, the person who is assisting you creates a “proposal” which is a suggestion made to each of your creditors based on the IP’s assessment of your situation and the amount you can afford to pay toward your shared debts.

This is normally a monthly payment, but if you have the funds, you may be able to make a lump sum payment.

Each person’s proposal will calculate how much of each debt they can afford to pay down, as well as how much of their income they can use to pay for living expenses. In most cases, this means that the person who earns the most will contribute more to the IVAs overall monthly contribution.

Pros and Cons

Like all other types of debt solutions, joint IVAs have some benefits and drawbacks.

Not all companies that give debt advice are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). But those that are licensed will let you know both the benefits and drawbacks of getting an combined IVA. We’ve listed some here:

Benefits of a Joint IVA

  • You don’t need to pay any fees up front
  • Even if some of your creditors oppose IVAs, it can be approved.
  • When the agreement is accepted, creditors are unable to contact you or take any further action against you or your spouse.
  • All charges and interest have been halted.
  • Each month, you’ll simply have to make one low monthly payment.
  • You could chat to your IP about some payment flexibility if your circumstances change.
  • You won’t be forced to sell your home if you’re a homeowner, whether or not it’s jointly owned.
  • At the end of the combined IVAs, any debt that remains will be written off.
  • Other Benefits
  • Bereavement Benefit
  • Carers Benefit
  • Disability Benefit
  • Extra Financial Support
  • Housing Costs
  • Out of Work Benefit
  • Retirement Benefit
  • Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

Drawbacks of a Joint IVA

  • When the arrangement is in place, your spending is likely to be limited.
  • Only a portion of debts can be included
  • There’s a danger that your creditors will reject your IVAs.
  • If you own a home, you may be required to release some of your home’s equity.
  • People may be required to pay a lump sum payment if they gain money during the IVAs.
  • The arrangement may fail if you fail to make the agreed-upon individual voluntary arrangement installments.
  • IVAs will be noted on your credit file and will hinder your ability to receive credit for six years because it means you’re breaking your credit arrangement with a lender.
  • Though it’s doubtful that anyone you know will see it, your arrangement will be noted on a public registry
  • You can’t be the director of a limited company if you’re insolvent, and some employers won’t let you keep your position if you’re insolvent.

What kind of debt can be included in a Joint IVA?

These joint individual voluntary arrangements are debt solutions which are designed to help those with unsecured joint debt. This includes the following types of debt:

  • Catalogue or store card debt
  • Council tax debt
  • Credit Cards which have joint ownership and individual credit card debts
  • Debt owed to family or friends
  • Energy and water bill debt
  • Income tax debt
  • Outstanding bills
  • Overdrafts
  • Payday loan debt
  • Personal loans
  • Tax credit debt or benefits overpayments

What kind of debt can’t be included in a Joint IVA?

Secured joint debts that you or your partner can’t include in an IVA are:

  • Child support debt
  • Court fines
  • Debt incurred through fraud
  • Hire purchase agreements
  • Mortgage debt
  • Other secured loans
  • Social fund loans
  • Student loans
  • TV licence debt

Do you have to be in a couple to get an Interlocking IVA?

No, you do not. Cohabiting couples are the most common users of joint interlocking IVAs. Married couples, civil partners, and unmarried couples could all be included in this group. In fact, being in a love relationship is not a legal condition. Other people who live together and are financially reliant on each other could benefit from an interlocking IVA.

What happens to a joint IVA after separation?

Depending on how you split, this could have a different impact on your joint IVAs. In some situations, your joint IVA will not be affected by the breakup.

A variation of your joint IVAs could be looked into by the IP if you separate and transfer houses but both parties are still ready to continue with the Joint IVA.

Your attorney, for example, may advise that the joint IVAs be divided into two parts. This will have no bearing on the IVA’s progress, as you will continue to work on it as usual.

If you undergo separation during an interlocking debt solution, your IVA will not necessarily fail. It’s easy to begin administering an IVA separately, and each person can make their own payment, because they’re actually individual in their nature.

If one (or both) of you are unable to make regular payments, that’s when it becomes risky. Moving into separate residences may cause you to have more bills and expenses, which could be a concern.

What happens to a joint IVA when someone dies?

It can be considerably different if you’re subject to an individual voluntary arrangement. The IVA would be terminated if you died, and any estate would be seized by creditors.

It’s possible, though, that if you suffer a terminal illness during an IVA, things can be done to help you get through it.

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Do I qualify for a Joint IVA?

For IVAs, there aren’t actually any set of requirements that must be met. By their very nature, these arrangements are quite adaptable. So, your qualification depends solely on your circumstance.

Your residence must be in the United Kingdom, Wales, or Northern Ireland, or have emigrated overseas within the past three years. You must be able to pay off your debts, but not be able to make all of your contractual payments.

In most cases, you’ll also need to owe at least £5,000 in total to two different creditors.

Do you need to have joint debts?

In order to set up combined IVAs, you don’t necessarily have to have any joint debts. All of the qualifying debts that each of you owes will be addressed in your individual IVAs. If you have any shared debts, when you complete your own IVA, each of you can release your own obligation to repay them.

The situation is different if you have a joint debt and just one of you engages into IVAs. An individual’s personal duty for repaying a shared debt is discharged when IVAs are completed. The other borrower, on the other hand, is still responsible for repaying the entire amount owed at the agreed-upon rate.

What happens if an IVA proposal is rejected?

Since your IVAs are put together with the goal of forming a single, interlocking IVA, if one of them is denied, the entire joint IVA will fail as a result.

At this point, try not to be overly concerned about it. Because an experienced IP knows what is likely to be granted or rejected, they will try to make your offers as appealing to your creditors as possible.

Can I get a mortgage if I’m on a Joint/Interlocking IVA?

In short, you can but it is extremely difficult to do. Since an IVA can only be entered into by a single person, you may need to explain whether the IVA is between you, the other person, or both of you.

In other words, if you’re in an IVA, you’re going to have a hard time getting a mortgage, and you might even break the terms of the IVA. Apart from any regular credit constraints based on your circumstances, if it’s merely another individual with an IVA, you shouldn’t have any difficulty getting a mortgage.

Are there any alternative debt solutions?

Yes, there are! Alternatives to an IVA in the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) include:

People who have debt management plans can pay off their debts at a lower pace than they can afford. This practice will continue until all of the debts have been paid in full. Depending on how much you owe and how quickly you can afford to pay it off, a DMP could last a long time.

If you owe less than £30,000, aren’t a homeowner, and can only afford to pay £75 a month on your bills, you can get a debt relief order. Although this debt solution is not available together, couples can apply for it separately after paying the £90 application cost.

Rather than using an IVA to pay off your obligations, going bankrupt could be a better and more cost-effective option. It’s frequently used to deal with major debt issues, although it’s not always as flexible as an IVA when it comes to assets.

Couples can’t apply for this debt solution together, but they can apply separately after paying the £680 application cost.

If you have a good credit score and can afford the new consolidation loan monthly, debt consolidation may be an option for you. Individually or jointly, consolidation loans are available. If the new loan is backed by your property, this can be a dangerous approach to pay off debts.

Scotland residents, on the other hand, have access to a separate range of debt solutions and advice.

Debt Management Plans

Your debt payback will be reduced to a more manageable level if you follow a debt management strategy. Your supplier distributes money to your creditors when you make a single payment into the plan.

Instead of dealing with you, your creditors are being asked to accept a lower payment amount and deal with your debt management plan provider. They also want you to cease paying interest and other fees on your loans.

This is a debt solution that can be used in a variety of ways. If necessary, you have the option to adjust your monthly payment and discontinue the plan without penalty or a lengthy notice period.

Debt Relief Order

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a type of personal bankruptcy. Your obligations are written off after one year, and you have legal protection from your creditors.

Unlike an IVA or a debt management plan, you won’t have to make any additional monthly payments if you apply for a DRO. In comparison to bankruptcy, which now costs £680 in England and Wales, this £90 DRO application price is a bargain.

People who own few assets, owing less than £30,000 in total debt, and have little money left over after paying their basic payments and other obligations are eligible for a Debt Relief Order.


In order to get rid of your debts, you must go through a legal procedure known as bankruptcy. In most cases, this sort of personal bankruptcy is utilized to deal with substantial debt problems. Almost any sort of debt may be dealt with, and after a year, you can get your obligation dismissed.

You’ll have to pay a £680 application fee in England and Wales, and you may have to make additional monthly payments for the next three years, depending on your financial condition. You may be able to sell some sorts of assets that you hold.

If you have a major debt problem, bankruptcy may be the quickest and most cost-effective solution. Depending on your financial and personal circumstances, though, it can have major ramifications.

Is a joint IVA the right debt solution for you?

A combined IVA might be a fantastic method to pay off a substantial portion of your debt and get back on track with your finances.

However, keep in mind that no one’s financial situation is the same as anybody else’s, so getting free debt advice that’s tailored to your needs is critical when it comes to paying off your obligations and moving toward debt-free living.


When you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s understandable how you’d want to do a lot of things together – things like help each other navigate finances, acquire properties together, and maybe even get joint bank accounts. However, sometimes, we fail to think about the possible joint debt we’d incur by doing all these seemingly natural things with a partner. That’s why we aimed to provide debt help for those who needed information and aid when it comes to taking on joint debt and IVAs.

If two persons are financially connected, it’s possible that they’ll both need to present the IVAs to their insolvency practitioners as well as the creditors. This would necessitate the creation of two IVA bids. They are referred to as an interlocking IVA if they are proposed at the same time, each including the shared, joint financial statement, each based on the success of both proposals.

Now, while difficult to manage at times, as long as you have a good understanding of the Financial Conduct authority rules, your budget, and financial capabilities, having combined IVAs shouldn’t be a problem. Reach out to us for more information or if you’d like to proceed getting your combined IVAs.

Interested In Finding Out More About The Debt Solutions Available?

Find Out More

IVA Debt Help Information

If you want to know more about the debt help plan of an IVA we have all articles related to individual voluntary arrangements here:

Other Debt Solutions

An IVA is not the only debt solution you have and this is where speaking to a qualified debt advisor is very important.

After speaking to a debt consultant you might realise the best solutions are one of the following:

Make sure you take time to understand all the debt solutions available before making a decision because DMPs (aka debt management plans) are also a popular choice in the United Kingdom.