Barely Getting By… What Do I Do? 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. Question What do i do at this point? Im barley getting by as it is.


I asked my friend Mike Killian 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.

Dear Jennifer,

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My goodness! You certainly have your hands full. Since you have a fair amount of debt and barely any tangible resources, bankruptcy would seem the wisest course of action. You might loose your car in that process but it sounds like that might not be a bad thing. A bankruptcy probably will not affect your new husband unless you have joint debt, as you must list all debt whether singly owned or jointly owned. But even if jointly owned, your attorney can reaffirm a debt so that it is still paid for. But any debt prior to the marriage or in your name only is not part of his legal responsibility and therefore will not affect him.

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I am so afraid the stress of what you are going through will affect your new marriage as well as your ability to best assist your children. You did not indicate your new husband’s financial status. I must assume it is adequate but I will also assume it is not too much greater than adequate. You may want to seek counseling for the marriage just to see you through this. Pastoral counseling or any other type counseling which includes the both of you so that no one person is carrying the burden would be wise.

If you elect bankruptcy, all debtors must cease any collection efforts and cannot even contact you any longer. This alone I am certain would be a great relief. Once the bankruptcy is over with, you can start fresh with your new family and have a great learning experience behind you.



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Mike Killian is founder of Learning Credit and Debt Management. He has been writing and teaching about credit and debt management issues for over 12 years. His articles have been referenced by various members of the media, including MSNBC and The Motley Fool. Mike has also offered debt elimination seminars to businesses and community colleges for many years.He has an MS in counseling and is a nationally certified as a Personal Finance Counselor. Mike can be found at LearnCreditManagement.com/.