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I’m Just Recently Married and I’m Getting Letters About Old Debts. I’m Barely Getting By. – Jennifer

“Dear Steve,

I went through a traumatizing divorce and got a lump sum with which I paid down all the credit cards. I had to live on them for a while.

I have 2 small kids that are sick alot and one is ADD/ Dyslexic so I am not able to work a full time job. I was working for my family making $400.00 gross a week until 6 months ago when we had an argument. I got behind then, I owe several cards close to 20,000.

I dont own anything. My car isnt worth what I owe. I just recently remarried. I live in Alabama and I’m getting letters from lawyers now to settle or be sued. I am working as a 1099 employee 3-4 days a week. My parents are paying my health insurance. I have been living in their house for 5 years.

What do i do at this point? Im barley getting by as it is.

Jennifer”

I asked my friend Susan Nilon to answer your question for you. I wanted to make sure you got an answer as quickly as possible as I’m a bit backed up at the moment. I’ll be watching the comments on this question and be around to help if you need me.

Sincerly,
Steve

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Hi Jennifer,

I am sorry to hear about your troubles. I know what it is like to have to rely on your credit cards to make ends meet. It’s a tough spot to be in. I realize that you and your children are living with your parents. But you don’t mention your new husband and how he fits into all of this financially. The reason I am asking is because the advice I give you will be affected by how much your husband earns and participates.

Without knowing that, I would recommend that you seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney. You can find one who will offer you his/her services either free or low cost by contacting your local or state Bar Association. They will ask you to fill out a questionnaire and determine how to proceed. I think that this might be your best way to basically wipe the slate clean from a financial perspective. It will help you start over.

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But outside of doing that, you have other issues at hand. If you and your new husband are living with your parents, then there is a good chance that you will continue on this mad path and not be able to stay ahead of your bills. While life has handed you a hard road, you have the choice to remain on it or find a new one. Bankruptcy can offer you a new start, but if you continue to live the way you do, it will only give you a temporary reprieve.

You first need to track your spending. Something tells me that you are not really aware of where your money goes and that would make quite a difference. Once you can say that you know how you spend your paycheck, then you can start to make an honest evaluation on how you can make a change. Sometimes we are unrealistic with our expectations. And sometimes in order for us to make a change, we have to recognize that the change will be hard. Your parents are paying for your children’s health insurance. Have you spoken to social services and see if your children qualify for your state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)? That might be a way to lesson the burden on your parents and allow you to take back the responsibility of your children’s care.

You also might want to think about seeking advice on a new career – one that would enable you to make a better salary and be able to pay for the care that your children need. It might require you to go for either training or additional education, but making the choice to better yourself is a good way to stay on top of the responsibilities that are a burden to you and your family.

I have a friend who was in a similar situation and he decided to go back to school to become, at first, an LPN (Nurse’s aide). He took classes at night and after he got his degree, he took a job at our local hospital. The Hospital not only gave him and his family insurance, but they also paid for him to get a degree in Nursing. Now he is a certified Nurse making a very nice living. Even when his kids are sick, he doesn’t have to miss work because the hospital has a program called “Sick care” and this allows him to drop his kids off there to be cared for while he is at work. I am pointing this out, because he made decisions for his future that had a good impact on him and his family.

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If you don’t make changes now, you will find yourself in this rut for a very long time and your options will run out. Because you are being threatened with a law suit and cannot afford to pay off your debt, you need to act now. But when you make decisions to handle the problems, realize that you have to think about it with long-term solutions. Your responsibility is not only to yourself, but also to your children. Giving them a life where you can be happy will also give them a future where they can be happy too.

Let me know how it is working out.

Sincerely,

Susan

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. We are happy to help you totally for free.




About the author

Susan Nilon

Susan Nilon is someone who knows what it’s like to be unemployed and on government assistance. Even with two University degrees, she knows that life can turn on a dime. Starting with no capital, Susan took the first check she received from her client and put it right back into her business. Within a few years, her business grossed over a half a million dollars. Specializing in advice for small business owners and single parents, Susan can offer caring advice from the perspective of someone who has been there and done that.

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