Emerging from domestic violence, Mariella found herself in a tangle of debt and bureaucratic difficulties. Bailiffs were calling for a council tax debt, and she was being chased for rent arrears and for repayment of an overdraft held jointly with her ex-husband. Her children were in temporary care as her husband was deemed a threat to them, with Mariella herself suffering from anxiety and depression.
A stipulation for Mariella regaining custody of her children was to have no contact with her ex-partner. This left her unable to provide creditors with an address for him, or to claim single occupancy discount for council tax, and unable to prove she was single for a housing benefit claim.
Our adviser helped to secure evidence of Mariella’s inability to contact her ex-husband. He got the bailiffs withdrawn, established her single occupancy discount and helped her to gain housing benefit, backdated enough to clear most of her rent arrears. He also helped her apply for a debt relief order, which will allow a year’s moratorium on her debts, after which they will be written off if she is still unable to pay. A year’s grace is clearly of great help to anyone recovering from trauma and can create the breathing space needed to start rebuilding a life.