My House is Paid Off. My Husband and I Are in Deep Debt. – Debbie

“Dear Steve,

My house is paid off and has been for about 14 years. My husband and I are in debt deep. He is not able to work and does not draw disability or anything. He applied once about 2 years ago, was denied and has tried to hold down jobs since but he can’t and doesn’t want to give up and apply again(a pride thing ,I guess).

Our marriage is on the rocks, the house is mine (Pre-nups in place). I can’t pay my bills. I co-signed for my nephew a car, he lost his job, I got the car back in 2006, Traded it and my truck for one vehicle to get one payment and one full coverage insurance on the vehicle. That said, I am Stuck with a $140.15 a WEEK payment (payoff about $24,000 ’06 Ford Escape) through my Credit Union and I have another loan there of $38.03 a WEEK Payment (payoff about $2300 Unsecured).

I also have 3 credit card payments min. payments total $100.00 a month. My total net income is $1660 a month. These bills are in my name.

My husband’s bills total about $600 a month (car payment, and credit cards, and a secured loan of about $800.00) He had bad credit when we met and I helped him build it back up (He had filed bankruptcy with a previous spouse in 1996), now I am in a bad bind with my bills and his.

I am 3 weeks behind on my vehicle payment .I have NEVER been late on a payment before in my life this is depressing me,making me want to give up, and terrifying me all at the same time. He is one payment behind on his car and one payment behind on his loan payment. I panic when I EVEN THINK about refinancing the house because if I lose my job (which is possible with a new company taking over next month) and I can’t make the payments I WILL LOSE MY HOME! I can’t go on like this. I have tried as hard and as long as I can to “hang in there”. What should I do? What can I do? Is there any hope for me? I don’t know what to do, I have Never been in a situation like this before, I don’t even know my options, if there is any.

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What should I do in my situation, Is bankruptcy a option?


Dear Debbie,

First, let me assure you that there is always a solution for every financial problem. They might now be the most enjoyable and sometimes it means selecting for the least objectionable, but there is always a solution.

While the house is paid for in full it is actually more of a security blanket for you. Having no mortgage on the house gives you a feeling of security and comfort. But at the end of the day it is just that, “the feeling of.” The house was placed at risk the moment the debts began building.

Most important for me right now is the marriage. I think this is the moment that you need to take a good and close look at what you want to do with the marriage. If you think you are better off leaving your husband, do it now. Let’s get all the messy stuff over at one time so you can move forward with your life.

By the way, just because he was turned down for disability doesn’t mean he wasn’t eligible. He needs to fight that with a disability lawyer to get benefits. However, it may now be too late.

If you do decide that now is the time to split, he moved out, and you were no longer covering his bills, you may find that you have enough to cover your bills and get caught up again. If that’s the case, your problem could be resolved without you selling the house to pay off your debts.

If he stays and you remain on the path you are on right now then selling the house, using the proceeds to get debt free, and renting may be a viable option for you.

So what do you think? Is it time to visit a local divorce lawyer for a free consultation?

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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‘.

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