We have aprx. $80,000 in unsecured debt. We are a family of seven. My husband, myself and our 5 children. We are drowning. I was making the min. payment on the credit cards until they started charging obscene interest rates. I have recently fallen behind – or – well refused to pay them their min. payment. I was taking all the “free” cash and paying the credit cards, only to then charge groc., gas, utilities, etc. right back on them. It was a vicious circle that has finally caught up with us. I don’t sleep at night, I’m cranky, miserable, basically to be around because this is all I can think of. My husband and I are both Christians and I have discussed bankruptcy with him, he doesn’t believe that would be an honest way to solve this crisis. In the meantime, I take care of paying the bills and now what is due, who we CAN’T pay, etc. I desperately need help. PLEASE! Please gives us some insight as where we should turn (besides prayer, as we are both constantly praying). What should we do???
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 I wish I could talk to your husband directly but I will have to talk to him through you. I have been a pre bankruptcy debt counselor for a few years now and apply my skills with an organization approved by the Department of Justice. I am also nationally certified as a personal debt counselor as required by the Department of Justice to work in this field. I am telling you all of this because one of our functions is to try to offer alternatives to bankruptcy. I do not know what your family income is nor what assets you have. But with the very limited information I see, I believe you are an exceptionally strong candidate for bankruptcy and the bankruptcy laws were implemented for folks exactly like you.
I understand your husband’s feeling. And I am glad you both maintain a Christian attitude… so do I. But bankruptcy was designed for folks who find themselves drowning in a sea of debt and I question which is makes the greater sense and is of greater value: a family drowning in a sea of debt or a family having a fresh beginning armed with a valuable lesson. I am not suggesting ignoring your debt. I am suggesting an opportunity to do what is right which is getting a family on the right course and staying on track from that point forward. I am suggesting an opportunity to raise a family in a healthy non-threatening environment with the knowledge behind you of financial entrapments posed within our society.
Were there mistakes that caused this problem? I am certain there were. But we must forgive ourselves those errors and go forward. We cannot be whole in body, mind and spirit until we are moving forward and I strongly encourage you to forgive yourself, swallow your pride and be strong enough to ask for help.
The process is as follows. Contact a reputable bankruptcy counselor who will usually offer a free initial consultation to tell you your options. I cannot encourage you enough to take this initial step as an absolute minimum. The attorney will then inform you that if you elect bankruptcy, you must take a pre bankruptcy course in person, phone or Internet approved by the Department of Justice. The course will again review any other options you might take and take a look at how you got into your dilemma. The course agency will issue a Department of Justice certificate, which the attorney needs to file bankruptcy. The attorney will then file for you and you can once again begin breathing and enjoying your family. There is then a second course required before your final discharge that will assist you in going from your bankruptcy forward.
I wish you both, along with all of your family, fresh air to breath and peace of heart.