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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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

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.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.

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

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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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11 thoughts on “Will I Have to Divorce My Wife to File Bankruptcy? – Dan”

  1. 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.

  2. Ok, my husband and I are divorcing. When I met with my attorney today,(thinking he had the papers ready to sign), he said after reviewing my debt, he wants us to file bankruptcy before divorcing. I have little to no equity in my home, a car payment and 65K in credit card debt. My soon to be ex and I had worked out how to split all the bills and have been working with creditors to lower payments to be able to pay them off. Should we file? I have an appt. with a bankruptcy attorney tomorrow. I just wanted someone else’s opinion.

    • Liz,

      When you divorce you legally separate from your spouse, not your creditors. It does not matter how you agree to divide a debt between you and your ex. If it is a joint debt he is supposed to pay and he does not the creditor will come after you.

      if you want to make a clean break from you ex then the bankruptcy approach makes logical sense. All you have to do is search my site for ‘divorce’ to read horror stories from people that did not make the bankruptcy break.


  3. Hello Steve, Thanks for such nice posts. I am thinking to file bankruptcy using online service of diy4law.com. is it good to use online service?

    • Bob,

      I think it would be a mistake to file your own bankruptcy. It is one of those times that the professional advice and assistance of a licensed bankruptcy attorney is well worth the investment to get it right.

      I would no more file my own bankruptcy than I would fill my own cavity.


  4. Now I am getting conflicting reports about how my bankruptcy will affect my spouse. I have researched this on the internet and compared the answers with the attorney I visited today. I am getting so much conflicting information that I do not know what to believe anymore. Since I live in Texas which is a community property state, my debts are now her debts as well. If I file chapter 7, my creditors can still go after her. If I file chapter 13, then my creditors are required to leave her alone. I cannot afford payments in chapter 13. My bankruptcy can affect her credit indirectly according to different lawyers’ websites. Different lawyers’ websites are saying different things. Now I am not so sure about this bankruptcy thing. The lawyer I talked to today stated all of my debts will go away and she should be left alone. I am very confused.

    If I go with this bankruptcy attorney I talked to today, I am making them sign something to the effect that if the creditors go after my wife in any way, then my wife will sue this attorney for negligence. I put myself in this situation, but I expect a lawyer to know what they are talking about and tell me exactly how everything works in the subject matter at hand when it comes to affecting my wife’s affairs.

    Sorry, I am just venting. Thanks.

    • Dan,

      Rather than charge the attorney with an unrealistic demand, why not take the high road and get a second opinion by talking with another bankruptcy attorney, face-to-face and ask all of your questions? A licensed bankruptcy attorney is the only one that can be relied on for specific information regarding your particular situation.


  5. I visited a bankruptcy attorney today. They answered alot of my questions. Thank you for your help. I feel a whole lot better now. All I wanted was for the credit card companies to not bother my wife or garnish her wages. I discovered that they won’t which is a huge relief off of my shoulders.

    Thank you for your help again. It was much appreciated….As my 1.5 year old daughter says, “Thank you much”. LOL!!

    You have a great day and splendid week.

    Later, Mr Rhode.

    • Dan,

      Thanks for the update. Please keep me posted as you move forward with this process.

      I’m so glad that you followed the advice and found a path out that will meet your needs and allow you a chance to move forward with your life.


  6. Thanks for the speedy response. I really do appreciate it.

    When I do file for bankruptcy, will my creditors garnish my wife’s wages since I incurred MY debt during our marriage which turns it into joint debt? I thought creditors could since I live in Texas which is a community state. I do not want the credit card companies coming after her at all. She makes enough money only to pay bills and other necessities.

    That is why I had questions about divorce and wanted to clarify my inquiry. As you can tell, I do not want my wife involved in the bankruptcy filings at all if possible. I do plan to pay my auto loan (which is joint) every month somehow.

    Anyway, I am trying to alleviate our stress by finding a job hopefully soon, as everybody else is in this world.

    Again, thanks for the speedy response. That was unexpected.

    You’re cool!! Keep up the good work.


    • Dan,

      If the debt is in your name and discharged in bankruptcy I can’t see how they could go after your wife since the obligation was individual and severed with bankruptcy. If you don’t discharge the debt they could attempt to collect from your wife. Go see a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible to eliminate the stress. I think you’ll find the job search process easier without the debt hanging over your head.

      You are welcome.



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