I’m Going to Get My Creditors to Settle the Debts or Accept Bankruptcy. – George

“Dear Steve,

I have been separated from my wife nearly one year. According to my legal counsel, I have no responsibility for my wife’s credit card debt (100% of which is in her name alone) which she accumulated unilaterally without my consent after she separated from me.

Her new credit card debt amount is $43,923 and she has been living with her parents in a foreign country since November 2, 2010. She has now chosen to return home and work on our marriage, and I consent to that.

If I can afford it, I will consider paying off for her personal debt for her as a loving act of reconcilitiation. I am looking for the best way to “strike a deal” to pay the lowest amount and get the lowest interest rate in a debt settlement.

Since I have no legal obligation and cannot legally be forced to pay for my wife’s credit card debts, I would literally like to play “hard ball” to get the best debt settlement.

I’d like to have her sign a consent(s) for me to negotiate on her behalf, let the creditor(s) know the truth that she has no means to pay them, let them know that I will pay her debts for her (despite the fact that I have no legal obligation to do so) out of a loving act of reconciliation if they give me the terms I want–but that if they are not reasonable with me, I will pay for an attorney so she can file for bankruptcy.

The creditor(s) will thus have two options: 1. work with me and get some money, or 2. refuse to work with me and get no money because then my wife will have to file for bankruptcy. Do you feel that this is a wise plan, and if yes–do I need to deal with each creditor individually or will a debt settlement company offer me the best option? Thanks for your help and hopefully your answer to my question will help someone else, also. 🙂

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Dear George,

Before you embark on this journey it’s a good idea to understand that creditors don’t act logically or cave to threats unless it meets the quota or target of that person you are talking to. I’ve personally dealt with loads of people at banks that could care less if a consumer goes bankrupt. It’s just not the bank employees money.

You are not negotiating with an individual. You are negotiating with the process that is defined by how delinquent she is at the time of negotiation.

If you do or don’t use a debt settlement company is really dependent on if you would rather have an experienced professional deal with this and pay them a fee for their service. There is a cost for this but the expertise a good professional can bring to the process can make it smoother and simpler for you. You can click here for debt settlement information.

On the other hand there are companies like Consumer Recovery Network that will teach you how to negotiate and coach you through the process. You have options.

It’s important that your wife understands the consequences of settling and that it will impact her credit in the short run and depending on how quickly you can settle this debt she may be get more aggressive collection calls and be threatened with getting sued or actually sued once she stops paying.

And let’s not forget the potential tax consequences if she is solvent after settling her debt. If so she’ll owe income tax on the difference between the point she became solvent and her end position.

It is possible to get the job done but not by force but by knowing where to tap and which hammer to use.

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


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.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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