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I’m Working With a Couple That Had Medical Issues and Debts. What Do You Suggest? – Lisa

“Dear Steve,

I’m working with a couple – one of whom acquired a brain injury a few years ago. She has not been able to work and has SSDI. She also has NH Medicaid and Medicare coverage.

Her husband continues to work but his income is fairly low (construction in this economy). As a result of her brain injury, they have had significant uncovered medical and legal costs that they are slowly paying back.

He applied for guardianship at the time and was charged $10,000 (shame on that attorney). so, with her credit cards covering the day to day expenses, she has run up some debt. She currenly owes on 4 credit cards. They have a truck which they need to get rid of and buy a vehicle that is more accessible for her and better on gas.

Is there a way that the spouse can separate her debt from his financial picture so that his credit is not ruined? they live in NH and I don’t know if there are any laws there about how to do this or if it’s possible.

And secondly, since they need to purchase another vehicle, is there a particular place they could go to get a car loan facing their current credit situation?

Thank you so much,

Lisa”

Dear Lisa,

I fear that the debt in question is a joint debt and that’s what binds them together on it. If it is a joint debt a creditor will not release one party unless the balance is paid off and even then the creditor may close the current account and ask them to reapply again under the new lending guidelines.

The high flying days of sub-prime Main Street credit are over for now. And in consideration of their other situation we may have to look at more of a one-two strategy.

The big issue is what is if you think they would be able to live without using credit to get by. A solution like bankruptcy makes sense in a situation like this to tackle the past debt. While it will hurt their credit, the credit can be rebuilt following this strategy.

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We have to tackle the underlying issue first, the debt. If we don’t anything else will just be a patch that won’t hold.

Once they file bankruptcy they could buy a car at a local “buy here- pay here” lot. And while they will pay a lot in interest that way, they can get a vehicle while they are rebuilding their credit.

It might not be a perfect solution, but it is a reasonable and likely solution.

I would suggest you click here to find a local attorney and go with them if you can on the appointment.

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

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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.

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