Over $70,000 in credit card debt has been charged off from the original creditors and now reside with multiple collection agencies. One of the charges is approximately $30,000, which I pay $200 per month (to Creditor’s Interchange). I have ignored the various other collection letters/calls because they want money from me that I just don’t have.
I’ve just received a letter from an attorney regarding one of the accounts (over $9000). Bankruptcy isn’t an option because my husband’s parents have money invested in accounts that list my husband as a joint or secondary and we were told that if we filed, they would take half of that money since my husbands name was on the account.
My husband doesn’t know the extent of the debt and I’m afraid to tell him. We had a discussion about debt about 8 years ago when we owed about $3,000 (total) and he had a fit, yelled, screamed and didn’t speak to me for two months. I feel like I’m drowning…
What do I say to that attorney? Do you think he’ll accept payments of $50 a week? That is the MAXIMUM I will be able to afford. Then, how do I address the other collection agencies? I’d like to pay them something to start repairing my credit, but I can’t give them what I don’t have! Thank you.
If your husband is a joint account holder and jointly responsible for the debts than he deserves to be told the truth.
Of course, his ignorance about his personal finances is not an excuse to behave badly. He has a responsibility to look at his credit report at least once a year to see what it out there in his name. If he had seen this early, and you’d had an unpleasant confrontation, you probably would not be where you are today.
What typically happens in these situations is that when one spouse comes clean with the other, things are a bit tense and chilly around the house for a week or two and then it thaws out and the two get to work on resolving the problem.
I think the attorney letter is designed to scare you but it could also lead to you being sued for the debt to recover what you owe. If you are sued, your husband will find out about the debt when he is called to court. And if the creditor wins, which they almost certainly will, the creditor could garnish his wages or go after cash in the bank to pay off the court award.
This is quite a hole you’ve dug yourself in but the best and most responsible thing you can do at this point is to be honest with your husband, accept responsibility for your actions and stop trying to solve $70,000 of credit card debt with $50 a week payments. That is not going to solve a thing.
Even without fees, jacked up interest, and penalties, the monthly minimum payment on $70,000 of credit card debt is going to be about $3,750 a month to dig yourself out of this mess in the next 10-15 years.
You are not making anything better by avoiding the reality of your situation. Take control, take action and in the long run, it will work out for the best.