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Will I Have to Divorce My Wife to File Bankruptcy? – Dan

“Hello, Mr Steve.

Here goes my story.

I am $90k in credit card debt only. I pay my bills on time. I have a 725 fico score. I make minimum payments on my credit cards. I spend money frugally on the house, bills, gas for the car, groceries, eating out only once a week with my family, haircuts, and auto and life insurance. That is it. Rarely do I splurge for myself. I still have to process balance transfers in order to keep up because I was not making enough money. I was netting $2300 monthly until I recently quit my job in these harsh economic times. I knew it was not a good idea, but there were dire circumstances relating to my job situation.

My work commute consisted of over an hour (1 and 20 minutes to be exact), meaning I pretty much slept the entire drive to and from work (yes, I blasted the AC and blared the music). I almost was in a wreck a month ago and did not enjoy the work which is what drove my decision to quit. I have a wife and a daughter and love them both. My decision to quit has not been easy on my wife and does not seem to show my love for my family, but actually in a way it does since I am a poor husband/daddy than a dead husband/daddy.

I cannot afford my credit card payments anymore obviously. I cannot afford a debt management plan, credit counseling, or any other similar plans since I do not have a job right now. I understand my only option is bankruptcy.

I love my wife dearly. If I declare bankruptcy, then the credit card companies will start going after my wife. I do not think that is fair on my wife. She deserves better than me I know. She has well over a 750 fico score. None of the credit cards are in her name. We have been keeping separate bank accounts and finances but do share in paying the necessities. Her and my auto loans are joint only.

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My parents also have helped me out. I now owe them $20k in credit card debt due to balance transfers which is included in the $90k total debt. Quitting my job was a very dumb move I know, but I have already explained the circumstances. There was a lot more involved on the job site besides the near car wreck. I want to pay back their credit card loans and do not want to obligate them to pay off my debt.

I am looking for a job that is a closer commute and I hopefully enjoy. I already have figured out that I need around $3000 net to live on after bankruptcy. My wife wants to keep the house that has a $1500 mortgage on it (the house is in her name only as I did that on purpose). She just made a biweekly plan to save $40k in interest on the house and pay it off in 6 years. She is adamant on keeping the house. She will not back out of the plan now.

She and I are cutting expenses that we do not need anymore.

I am pretty much in a nutshell, I am stuck and have dug myself a pretty deep hole of financial and personal turmoil.

I am not looking for sympathy, just any other advice that I am not aware of.

The only solution I see is to declare bankruptcy. Then I will have to file divorce so the credit card companies will not go after her. Yet, my wife and I do not want to file divorce. We love each other and our daughter very much. I cannot afford the child support either. I have to find a job that pays net $3000 for bills and emergencies. I would also like to pay off the credit card companies eventually since they helped me out since 2001 when this whole mess started due to me leaving a stable job within the same company of six years (my fault). That would be after I declare my bankruptcy obviously. I am trying to give you all of the pertinent information I can in order for you to get all of the facts straight. I am not hiding anything and just want some help.

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Can you offer anything else upfront that I do now know about to maybe alleviate my stress. I am not handling it very well anymore. I have always been calm and collected until now. I don’t expect any sympathy, just any other assistance you can provide me with would be extremely helpful.

Thanks for your time. Have a good day.


Dear Dan,

I have some good news for you. Since the debt is all in your name alone and not jointly held with your wife, she does not need to be included in your bankruptcy.

This should be a fairly easy and straightforward matter and you will not need to get divorced to file bankruptcy as an individual.

Please find a local bankruptcy attorney you would like to work with to file your bankruptcy. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free bankruptcy consultation appointment to review the situation and answer all the questions a potential client may have.

The auto loan will probably be carried through the bankruptcy and you will be able to keep the car and continue the monthly payments.

I’m very confident this is going to work out better than you fear. Once you contact a bankruptcy attorney and make arrangements to move forward with your bankruptcy you stress level will substantially decrease.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


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.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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.


  • Yo Steve
    This is the first month I have fallen behind on my credit card payments. Bank of America is already calling. Anyway, how long does it take for a creditor to start garnishing your wages (I don’t have any income yet though). Do they have to tell you they are garnishing your wages, or do they just go into your bank account without warning? How long is it before they can sue you? What is the timeline from when you actually start to not make payments to when they can dig into your bank account? Just curious on the debt collection process. Thanks.

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