Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Divorce Mental Health Related

Boyfriend is Paralyzed With Debt After Divorce. – Michelle

“Dear Steve,

My boyfriend was divorced last year. His ex-wife “walked away” from their marriage, but not before charging up the credit card balances substatially. She decided she didn’t want to deal with their newly purchased home, so she legally signed her rights away and he bought her out for $1.00. After adding lawyer divorce fees to the credit cards, he now has about $20000.00 in credit card debt. Unfortunately, he is now paying $1800/mo for a mortgage that it took both of them to qualify for. He is barely keeping his head above water but has very little “extra” money, so making a dent in the cc debt, saving money, etc is almost impossible. He will never get out from under paying the minimums. He now doesn’t quality for a re-fi, but they won’t consider him for a loan modification because he’s still current. He is upside down on his mortgage. There doesn’t seem to be a way out. He is working (I don’t know his salary). I want to help, but don’t know what to do. He is depressed and his inability to pay for anything as simple as a night of bowling is eating at his self-esteem. He seems paralyzed and overwhelmed by the situation – understandably.

Can you recommend a reputable company/organization that will evaluate his situation and help him make some tough decisions? I’m not sure if bankruptcy is the answer, but he will be in the exact same place in 10+ years if he doesn’t do something.


Dear Michelle,

You’ve got a number of issues going on here. The most debilitating is the depression. Depression and debt is common but it leads people to a place where they are unable to take action so instead the debt situation just blocks out the sun and rolls over them.

This residual debt following divorce is very common.

READ  Money and Stress: How to Keep Your Money Worries From Killing You

The major issue is that there is no expectation he will make enough money to dig out of this hole. And even if he could, his depression wouldn’t let him see it anyway.

I would suggest a two stage approach. You will really need to be there for him and help him through this though.

First, encourage him to go and talk to his doctor about the depression. There are great treatments for depression that will help him be able to regain his life instead of being lost in this dark hole.

Second, click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and take your boyfriend to the appointment to talk about bankruptcy. He needs a solution that will help him to get a fresh start and his life back from an otherwise impossible situation.

You will need to push your boyfriend gently ahead in this so that he actually has a chance to break from from his situation. He needs you more than ever right now.


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.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Unfortunately, our relationship couldn’t “hold” through this and some other issues, but I wanted to thank you for your help. If one good thing came of this, it made me evaluate my own financial situation closely and “get real”. In this economy, I consider myself fortunate to be single (no familial obligations) with no mortgage and thankfully, working and making a generous salary. I am aggressively paying down $10000 of cc debt (will be free of it all by mid-July)and should have a sizeable savings account by the end of the year. I haven’t always been so responsible, but I realize that I don’t want to become a slave to debt and the unscrupulous credit card companies who could care less about me. I’ll take financial security anytime! I enjoy reading your posts. Your honest and caring answers clearly show your passion for helping people – especially those who may feel they are drowning in their financial situations. Now more than ever is it refreshing to stumble across someone who genuinely wants to help, without strings attached or an ulterior motive. Thanks again, Michelle

    • Michelle,

      Thanks for the update. It sounds like things have worked out for the best, even though a bit difficult.

      Now that you’ve lived through this you probably have some advice to offer Kathryn on her question. I’ve love for you to comment and help her. Click here.

      Your kind words made my day.

      Big hug.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top