My Husband Has Chronic Depression, is a Process Server, and in Debt. – Tamara


“Dear Steve,

My husband has chronic depression and has always just worked part time. He had a small business as a process server, and he got a business credit card from Capital One for $5000. The card is in his name and he got it before we got married.

The last few years, he’s stopped working mostly, just laying on the couch and struggling with life. I paid off his cards, including the $5K. Then he charged it up again, and there’s no way he can pay it, and now I can’t either. I pay all other bills and support the household, and I can’t pay this card, as the minimum payment is now $1800.

What options does my husband have to deal with this $5K credit card that is now five months past due, and will I be able to keep out of this – can he file bankruptcy without it affecting my credit? I had to file bankrupcty 10 years ago, and I’m finally free – I don’t want to go down that road again.


Dear Tamara,

A process server? Doesn’t seem like the best job looking to overcome chronic depression, just saying.

The path to overcome this situation might seem backwards but trust me on this. To best put the financial problems behind him he needs to focus on getting his depression under control with medication and/or talk therapy. Depression is a major contributing factor towards developing money troubles.

Let’s look at what depression does and some of the symptoms.

  • Creates inability to develop plans.
  • Lead to inability to execute plans or long term goals.
  • Leads to a disinterest or lack of motivation to address bigger issues.
  • Lead to inability to deal with creditors.
  • Contributes to shopping or spending to mitigate feelings of depression.
  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
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Here is a great guide that you can download to give you an overview about depression.

Once he starts to be treated for the depression, then he can file bankruptcy in his name alone if he needs to, but treatment might just lead to his willingness and enthusiasm to work harder to eliminate his debt by paying it off.

Unfortunately, without treatment for the underlying depression, if you bail him out again the cycle will just repeat.


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.

2 thoughts on “My Husband Has Chronic Depression, is a Process Server, and in Debt. – Tamara”

  1. Steve,
    Thanks for such a quick response to my query. I agree, chronic depression must be addressed in advance of other issues. However, he has been on medication for a decade. He also has ADD, which is also medicated, and the dual diagnosis creates some of the issues. He also sees a psychiatrist and a therapist. I think your advice is good for newbies, but we’re in the thick of this, and it’s been part of our lifestyle a long while. If you know anything about ADD, you will know they are often the kind of people who love to drive, and don’t always do well with schedules. My husband is of that variety. Additionally, he has serious irritable bowel syndrome and migrains, so having his own schedule is what works best. Serving process has been his work of choice for the past four years, mostly because of what I’ve just explained. So, yes, I agree therapy and meds are important, but I think it’s simplistic to say that if he takes meds and enters into therapy, he will be able to get his depression under control. I don’t think it always is so easy.Finding the right medication, and balance of diet, exercise, and finally – addressing the real medical issues that are causing chronic pain must also fit into the mix. It all takes time and MONEY. We have been living this struggle since I met him, so I know the issues quite intimately.

    I am very grateful, however, for your advice on the bankruptcy. That has been something I’ve worried about seriously for awhile, and I don’t want to be hit with bad credit ratings after working diligently to get my credit back. This eases up my fears a lot, and I think I can be a better support to my hubby, knowing that there is a way out of this mess he’s caused for himself, and ultimately, me as well. I want him to improve, all the time, but the primary issue for writing was the money concern, not his health.

    You’ve been very helpful! Thank you so much.


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