Trisha is a Single Mom, Separated, and Facing Bankruptcy. What Should She Do?


“Dear Steve,

I am a single mom and heavily in debt. I was living with my husband (we are legally separated) because of finances but recently I moved out. I am not behind on my payments at this time because I didn’t have to pay rent, utilities, etc. It is only a matter of time before I can’t make my credit card payments. I don”t know what I should do. Help!!

Should I file bankruptcy?


Dear Trisha,

Your situation is fairly typical. When a couple splits they now have two households to maintain on the same income they used to maintain one. Divorce and separation is often the event that leads one or both partners to bankruptcy.

I suspect that the only reason you are not behind yet is that since you recently moved out, all the new payments have not hit yet, or that you are using what little saved money you might have to make ends meet.

I think that you should use this event to not only start your marital life over but your financial life as well. If you do decide to go bankrupt it will eliminate and debt in your name and remove your liability to repay any joint debt that he has said he would pay.

The most important thing to remember about divorce is that even if he agrees to pay a debt that you might be jointly responsible for, it is still your responsibility to repay that debt if he does not. When you get divorced, you divorce your spouse, not your creditors.

Before you make any decision and certainly before you send any more money to creditors, I think you should find and meet with a local bankruptcy attorney for a free bankruptcy review. Get a legal opinion from the bankruptcy lawyer about what bankruptcy will mean for you and then make a choice about what you want to do. If you decide to not go bankrupt than come back and let me know. I’ll come up with a Plan B for you at that point.


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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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3 thoughts on “Trisha is a Single Mom, Separated, and Facing Bankruptcy. What Should She Do?”

  1. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what they’re talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe you’re not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  2. I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful

  3. I think Trisha can consider opting for a debt management plan from a certified credit counseling company. Authorized counselors can help sort out your budget and draw up a plan to help you get rid of debt systematically.

    Amrapalis last blog post..Saving Up


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