Pregnancies Have Led to Credit Card Debt and I Wonder About Bankruptcy

Question:

Dear Steve,

My husband and I have been married for 12 years and we have 2 kids together. A boy and a girl. I am a stay-at-home mom my pregnancies are hard and I am on bed rest from beginning to end. I needed ultrasounds every other week and my husband had to take time off every time to take me.

We racked up a lot of credit card debt due to that but also due to living above our means. We have 10,000 in debt to credit cards 4,300 in personal loans that paid off other credit cards. We have an upside-down car loan to our van of 22,000 and we live in a 2 bedroom single wide in a mobile home park that we had to buy due to nowhere else to go at the time and that was 23,000 now 21,900.

My husband only makes 42,000 and that just happened, he was only making 39,000. We are struggling to make our payments every month. We already have a very meager grocery budget of 400/month and that includes everything like food, toiletries, and paper products. We also have medical debt. I’m not sure of the total but my guess is about 6000. We don’t have a savings or retirement plan. My son has private therapy for delays. It is extremely stressful to be in so much debt.

My question is should we file bankruptcy or are there any other options? Also, would we be able to find a place to live if we file for bankruptcy? Or will we be denied due to bankruptcy? My husband is worried if we file bankruptcy we won’t have a place to live. I feel like it’s our only option our kids are still young 6 and 2. We are ready to make a change I just don’t know-how.

Cassie

Answer:

Dear Cassie,

Thanks for reaching out for advice, I’m sorry to hear about the hardship your household is experiencing. Given the circumstances you’ve described, bankruptcy might be the most effective way of discharging the credit card and medical debts and getting rid of the van (and upside loan). Bankruptcy might also allow you to keep your current mobile home and continue making payments (or possibly even restructuring your loan to better terms). It can be a relatively quick and affordable way of eliminating numerous debts.

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However, be careful not to file bankruptcy too early, as any debt that accrues afterward will not be included in the discharge. Also, as much as you’re feeling pressure to pay the debt, there might not be sufficient impetus to take immediate action right now. If none of the creditor’s sue, the debts could become time-barred for litigation in due time (check your jurisdiction), and then filing bankruptcy or paying the debt may not be necessary at all. Simply put, the need to take action regarding a debt becomes a more serious concern if/when the creditor initiates a lawsuit.

Be cautious about falling behind on your payments on the mobile home. If you’re going to pay any debts on a regular basis, this might be the most important.

Although I can’t recommend any bankruptcy alternatives given the lack of disposable income, I don’t recommend you jump the gun and file bankruptcy just to alleviate anxiety. If you qualify for bankruptcy, consider keeping it as an option to be used if necessary.

Almost all bankruptcy attorneys will provide a free consultation. Call one that practices in your jurisdiction. The advice you get can be tremendously valuable regardless of whether or not you ultimately decide to file for bankruptcy protection.

Simon Goldenberg
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3 thoughts on “Pregnancies Have Led to Credit Card Debt and I Wonder About Bankruptcy”

  1. Cassie,

    You should promptly consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your area. You may be required to visit the office on several occasions, so best to engage with an attorney that has an office local to you. Once the attorney has the particular details of your situation, you may then be provided specific advice and guidance tailored to your circumstances. I sincerely wish you all the best with resolving your debts.

    Reply

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