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How Can I Get My Husband Out of Debt Without His Cooperation? – Caren

“Dear Steve,

Using credit cards for necessities. Have not used credit cards for 3 years but still paying them off. We have never been rich. Living in our current home we have managed to get our heating under some control but still over what we can afford.

Now electric is out of control because of extreme over (30%) increases. We have not had a 2nd car in over 8 years. Now I’m disabled (the doctors say if I return to any work I will be paralyzed in a few years as my cervical spine has 5 degenerating discs. My health is not great, but we do have good insurance. We now have a home that is not worth what we refinanced it for to get our most pressing credit cards paid off. We now have $6,000 in credit card debt; home mortgage 60,000 (2 loans). This may not seem like much but we are treading on thin ice. Nothing seems to work, but I’ll try again. My husband does not help in this. I handle all the bills. We have never had a “modern, lovely” home. It i s big but it is in need of a lot of work. We don’t have expensive things. We have never had a very large expensive car. We did away with cable, satellite. Our only entertainments are the internet and Netflix.

1. Is it a copyright infringement to rewrite your book for just my husband and I. It does not fit our situation. Our income should be enough to live on but things keep happening–increasing utilities cost. Our debt may only be 6,000 in credit cards; 7,000 car and 3.2% loan; 50,000 in student loans which are deferred because I cannot work and my name is only on them.

2. Will they make my husband pay the loans? We do intend to pay the loans–actually my daughter was going to pay it but she had to return to school as she could not get a job in this job market–she would take almost any legal and moral job.

3. How can I put a plan in motion without my husband’s cooperation. I take care of all the bills, but I have chronic, clinical depression and some financial habits and mental problems. Sometimes I freeze even when I have the money to pay a bill. As you can see our situation is not as bad as you describe in your book–it has been worse believe me, one bankruptcy, almost one legal problem that could have put me in jail; but we took care of all that.

4. Your budgeting categories do not fit our reality–no alimony, children at home, no fancy anything. I do get a little confused and tried to find. My focus is deteriorating with a TIA. I known I need to work on a budget but how do I deal with what my husband spends? We are currently getting help from the our church. Our hope and my goal is to be able to live within our means, debt free. But every time I feel I’m getting there something happens–oil prices for our heat hit almost $4 gallon (that’s $1200 for one tank which last a week during winter); We were able to miraculously put in a coal stove which has required only 3 tons of coal for the winter and 3 tanks of oil this winter. How do i deal with these things. This year electricity increased 50%; gasoline goes up steadily; but if we are careful and out of debt we can do it. But I do feel alone. Please, is there any hope if my husband does not join me?–he’s a good man and doesn’t spend money outlandishly; we’ve been married 45 years.

Caren”

The Answer

Dear Caren,

I’m sorry to hear of the hurdles and obstacles in front of you. Your medical condition makes me wonder if we need to start thinking more long-term and winding up the debt so you can focus on doing better instead of worrying about this mess.

It also sounds like your home is too big for you and just more than you can afford to properly take care of, repairs and all, on the current income. Rather than just focus on the financial stress at hand this is probably the time to think bigger picture.

Not only is your home in need of repairs you can’t afford, but it sounds as if the utilities are pushing your budget to the limits as well.

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Your situation is a good news, bad news type of thing. The bad news is that without some larger intervention in your situation you are probably not going to be able to budget your way out of this mess.

The good news is there are solutions.

The first thing I would do is find a local bankruptcy attorney and go talk to them. You may consider handing the house back to the bank, downsize your living arrangements to something more affordable and less of a utility drain.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and if you’d like a second opinion about your situation or a personal consultation by another debt coach, please feel free to contact Damon Day.

Using this financial do-over you can shed all the debt you can’t manage moving forward. In light of you deteriorating health this is a prudent path to follow in order to set yourself up on a safer financial footing.

When looking for ways to increase the quality of like the two choices are to increase income or reduce expenses. Your situation certainly sounds as if increasing income is not a logical path to follow. So that leaves us with discharging the debt legally to end the unmanageable debt and prevent collection calls and future suits over the debt.

Second it sounds as if you are permanently disabled. If so, you might be able to get your student loans discharged instead of just leaving them in limbo. If you are totally or permanently disabled you may be able to get the full value of your student loans discharged.

Once we get the major regrouping done and get you headed off into a better future, then we can worry about budgeting and tracking. Until we deal with the bigger issues, budgeting will be as effective as wearing a band-aid while standing in front of a speeding train.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

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.
  • hopless

    I lost my job due to medical reasons in 07 my husband works long hours 7 days a week i feel sorry for him i am trying to get disability wich is a nightmare ok we dont have credit cards we have medical bills , school loans and some other bills we own both our vehicles my bigest problem now is i went with nationwide financial paid them to help me get a loan modification found out they wasnt helping me when the sheriffe came to the door i called them they said they were sorry the bank wouldnt talk to them and they refunded me my last payment then i got a lawyer and was working with the bank for a loan modification then a knock at the door with a offer for cash for keys called my bank they said they no longer owned my home my loan was a va backed loan they hired bank of america to buy my loan they put me out so now im deeper than ever filled my income tax and my first mortage sent me a debt realeas of 13,000. which i had to claim as income now im waiting for my home to be sold to see if i have to pay my family is stuffed in my moms 2 bedroom mobile home there is me my husband and two children and all my stuff is stuffed in two storage units which i have to pay for i need to get a place to live rent is more than my house payment was which was 850.and with our credit they want a security deposit we cant afford if i file bankruptcy is it only going to get worse our savings is gone now all we have is my husbands retirement at work which we cant touch we are living pay to pay we are trying to help my mom with the bills since we moved in her bills doubled cant seem to get caught up on anything or save anything and with prices going up on everything we may all end up homeless she is on social security she was barley making it without us staying with her i am at wits end no where to turn is there any hope for us

  • hopless

    I lost my job due to medical reasons in 07 my husband works long hours 7 days a week i feel sorry for him i am trying to get disability wich is a nightmare ok we dont have credit cards we have medical bills , school loans and some other bills we own both our vehicles my bigest problem now is i went with nationwide financial paid them to help me get a loan modification found out they wasnt helping me when the sheriffe came to the door i called them they said they were sorry the bank wouldnt talk to them and they refunded me my last payment then i got a lawyer and was working with the bank for a loan modification then a knock at the door with a offer for cash for keys called my bank they said they no longer owned my home my loan was a va backed loan they hired bank of america to buy my loan they put me out so now im deeper than ever filled my income tax and my first mortage sent me a debt realeas of 13,000. which i had to claim as income now im waiting for my home to be sold to see if i have to pay my family is stuffed in my moms 2 bedroom mobile home there is me my husband and two children and all my stuff is stuffed in two storage units which i have to pay for i need to get a place to live rent is more than my house payment was which was 850.and with our credit they want a security deposit we cant afford if i file bankruptcy is it only going to get worse our savings is gone now all we have is my husbands retirement at work which we cant touch we are living pay to pay we are trying to help my mom with the bills since we moved in her bills doubled cant seem to get caught up on anything or save anything and with prices going up on everything we may all end up homeless she is on social security she was barley making it without us staying with her i am at wits end no where to turn is there any hope for us

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