I Owe a Lot in Medical Bills And My Husband Does Not Know About My $50K in Credit Card Debt. – Lou


“Dear Steve,

I have approximately $50,000 in unsecured debt that is in my name alone. $7650.00 is medical bills from a surgery. I lost my job in May 2009 and have just recently found another job. Unfortunately my salary will be $160.00 gross a week less. My husband works very hard and is a good provider. He is unaware of how much debt I have. Alot of it has come thru my fault of continuing to help my grown children. That said, can I file bankruptcy without him being involved? Our home is owned jointly witha mortgage. We have two vehciles, paid for, in my name. Do joint debt have to be included in bankruptcy? We are not spenders on material things. I shop at thrift stores, take my lunch to work, etc.

Is bankruptcy the answer for me?


Dear Lou,

I’ve been helping people since 1994 and in all of my years I can’t think of one single time when hiding debt in a situation like this did not turn out to be an utter disaster.

All your debts will have to be included in bankruptcy, including joint debts. That will suck your husband in and he will eventually find out about your individual “secret” bankruptcy.

There is no upside in not biting the bullet and sitting him down and disclosing what the reality of the situation is. What I would first suggest is that you go and meet with a local bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation. Then, armed with the facts, you can approach your husband with the reality of your financial affairs and a solution.

So let’s look at the two biggest fears people have when they have hidden debt from their spouse. It is usually that he will leave me or he will beat me. Anyone that would leave another over debt was not invested in the relationship. And a spouse that would beat another over debt needs to be arrested. Hell, I’m a pacifist and even I’m come kick the ass of any husband that would hit his wife over debt.

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Outside of those two issues the reaction of the spouse that has been cheated on with debt is going to be denial, anger, and acceptance. After the big debt revel the environment can be chilly for a couple of weeks, but armed with a real solution, the relationship will begin to thaw and return to normal.

The most responsible and mature thing you can do here is to come clean with your spouse. Trust me, it is the only path.

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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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