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My Fiance Agreed to Pay Half of Everything. It Didn’t Work Out Like That. – Kimberly

“Dear Lewis,

About three years ago I was living in a house with my fiancee and his grandparents. They had agreed to pay half of everything but to no avail they never paid a penny. I had to let me credit cards fall by the wayside so I could make sure I had a roof over my head, my car didn’t get repossessed, and that I had food to eat.

Once I let the credit cards go it was pretty easy to let the smaller debts go as well. No I have about $15,000 in debt that has been charged off on my credit. My credit score is pretty low around the 500’s and I currently only make $1800/month. I have two cars in my name, which I have never defaulted on or made a late payment on. All of my debt is credit cards, utility companies,apartment complexes, etc. I want to be able to buy a house soon because I am currently expecting my first child in August of this year.

Should I file bankruptcy? If I do which chapter? My car will be paid off on or before December of 2013 and I might need to trade it in before that. Will I be able too if I file bankruptcy? Will I be able to rent from apartment complexes? Any guidance would be helpful. Thank you!

Kimberly”

Dear Kimberly,

For many people, I would say that $15,000 is not enough debt to file bankruptcy. But that is the easy way out to answer someone. For some people $15,000 in debt is nothing, for others it can be a never ending battle.

With $1800/month income, and two car payments, without earning more money, you will never dig out of $15,000+ in debt.

I am not sure why you have two car payments? Why do you have two cars? Why not let one go? Many of my clients have been able to get a new car after filing bankruptcy. It won’t be a perfect interest rate, and it might not be a brand new car, but it is a great way to re-establish your credit after bankruptcy.

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As to buying a home, I am afraid that might take a longer time. Your credit scores are pretty low, and a bankruptcy can show on your credit report for up to 10 years. The other large problem is: where will you get a down payment from? The banks are very tight these days, so getting a mortgage is near impossible with nothing down.

You may have to look to other ways of buying a home. Like renting to own, contract for deed, or agreement for deed (basically all are forms of owner financing – maybe someone owns two homes and needs to get one sold and is willing to carry their own mortgage). A strong word of caution on that course of action: make sure the owner/seller is not in financial trouble themselves; make sure they are not in foreclosure.

Lastly, if you need to rent for a while, my clients do not seem to have problems renting after bankruptcy (whether in an apartment complex or from an individual owner). I can only base this on the fact that my clients don’t call me back after their bankruptcy to tell me they are having trouble renting. I don’t hear from them, so I have to assume that is a form of positive feedback on their ability to find housing.

I hope this helps, and good luck!

My name is Lewis Roberts and I’m an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia. My practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, real estate issues/closings, and mortgages. I also have Florida real estate broker and mortgage broker licenses. I am a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA), and a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp. I enjoy helping people with decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.

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About the author

Lewis Roberts

Florida Consumer Protection Attorney

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