Unexpected Change

Supporting customers through times of change

At a glance


We understand that any relationship breakdown can be difficult and affect multiple aspects of your life.

At M&S Bank, we’re here to provide you with information about how separating from your partner can affect your banking arrangements and what to think about when you’re reviewing your finances.

Please note that we can only give general information here, so do speak to us if you need more detail about any financial arrangements you have with M&S Bank.

Useful information

If you and your partner are separating you may have joint finances such as mortgages, bank accounts, savings accounts or loans that will be affected by the change in your circumstances.

You may also have joint insurance policies or bills that are paid using a joint account; these may need to be cancelled or transferred, or you may need to make other arrangements for payment.

Joint accounts

If you have a current account, loan or investment in joint names you’ll need to contact the relevant bank, building society or any other provider to make them aware of your change in circumstances.

If you have any concerns regarding access to or use of an account, speak to your bank or building society to discuss what options are available to you, such as freezing the account.

Freezing an account should be given very careful consideration. On the one hand it may protect your position while you sort out your finances with your former partner. On the other hand, any important regular payments such as loan or mortgage instalments may be affected.

Usually, once an account is frozen both account holders will need to agree to any further payments, withdrawals or transfers from the account.

The impact of separation on joint accounts can differ from one bank to another, so always make sure you get specific information from whomever the account is with, including if you have an account with M&S Bank, as we can only give you general guidance in these notes.

Reviewing additional cards on a credit card account

If your partner is an additional card holder on your credit card account, you can choose to remove them. Please note, until they are removed, you will be responsible for whatever they spend on the card (as well as your own spending). If you do decide to stop their use of the card, you should let them know as they may rely on the card for day-to-day spending.


If you have a mortgage in joint names, you will both remain equally responsible for meeting the monthly payments (it is not the case that each of you is only responsible for paying half, even if one of you has moved out of the property). Please note that if one (or both) of you moves out of the property you will need to let your mortgage provider know.

It is important to try and agree with your former partner how you will continue to meet the mortgage payments. If you think that you may have difficulty in meeting your monthly mortgage payments, you should speak to your mortgage provider at the earliest opportunity as they can often work with you to agree a suitable solution.


It’s always best to try to come to an agreement with your former partner regarding joint savings. If you are able to reach an agreement it’s usually a quick process to transfer the money to accounts in your/their sole name. You can obtain further information on the Money Advice Service website.

Home insurance

If you have a joint home insurance policy, you will need to inform your insurer of your change of circumstances and review your insurance arrangements to make sure they are suitable.

Car insurance

Whether an existing policy is in your name or your former partner’s, consider whether any changes need to be made to your insurance arrangements. For example, if you are a named driver on your former partner’s policy you will need to know if your name is removed so that you don’t unknowingly drive without insurance.

Life insurance

You may need to update your insurance company on your change of circumstances. If your former partner stands to benefit from your policy, you should consider whether you want to notify the insurance company that someone else should benefit instead.

Updating your Will

A relationship breakdown may be an appropriate time to consider making a Will or reviewing an existing Will.

Further information

Remember that the information above is for general guidance only. There will be important detail that you can only get from the banks, companies or other organisations your finances are linked to, so speak to them individually about your change of circumstances.

Useful links


Support and guidance to help you make this difficult transition easier for you and your family

Money Advice Service

Help and advice on legal matters

Sorting out separation

Helps you through separation and divorce


Provides information around family law



Having your role made redundant is one of life’s biggest challenges. How will I pay my mortgage? How will my family cope? How will I find a new job? We want you to feel you can talk to us about your concerns and know who you can contact for further advice.

Rent and mortgage payments

Check your policies to see if you’ve taken cover for income protection and make a claim with your provider. You might also be entitled to receive benefits to help you.


You may receive redundancy pay that could cover your outgoings until you start a new job. There may still be benefits that you can claim in the meantime.

Financial difficulty

Once you know what your income will be, you should work on a budget calculator. If you have debts with us and feel you are struggling, you might want to speak to one of our advisors about your circumstances and see if we’re able to help.

Emergency contact

If you're an M&S Bank customer, you can provide us with an emergency contact. This is an M&S Bank-specific request which tells us that you’d like us to speak with someone you trust if you’re unwell and unable to communicate.

When might you choose this option?

You may choose this option if you’re unwell and haven’t yet agreed a Power of Attorney, or if you want the comfort of knowing we have contact information for your family or friends in cases of emergency.

Key features for you

Your emergency contact can call us to tell us if you’re unwell and if you can’t communicate with us. We may use this information to tailor the way we communicate with you and manage your accounts while you’re unavailable, such as temporarily suspending repeat letters or calls.

Your emergency contact won’t have any access to your accounts and they won’t have authority to make decisions on your behalf. If you require help with your accounts, please see our table explaining the different types of third party access.

How to apply

You can provide us with your emergency contact details by calling our Customer Services team on 0345 900 0900 8am-8pm, 7 days a week.

Don’t forget to notify your emergency contact of their responsibility and if their contact details change, please let us know.

You have rights regarding your information, including being able to see what we hold about you. For more information please see our full Privacy Notice.