We saw a debt negotiator this morning

We saw a debt negotiator this morning. His wife is an attorney. We were referred to him by my child’s social worker (our oldest son is autistic). This coulple also has a daughter who is autistic, so they can understand some of the aspects of our lives that others might not….

Anyhow, we discussed three options….Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and debt negotiation and repayment (this last would involve a large lump sum payment, which I was not happy about….as I don’t know when/how I can get back to paid employment and I am trying to preserve assets).

We have no home (we rent) but I do have retirement funds/college funds for the boys, and some non-retirement assets.

I’ve been thinking, once my youngest is in Kindergarten (full-day) I could try to do call-center work from home (customer service on the telephone) from 9 to 2. This couldn’t happen until September, though.

So, he said that my husband could file Chapter 13 as an individual and that they would ask about my income (currently 0.00) but not my assets. They would also ask about income versus expenses and they would (hopefully) also take into account that we have a pretty severely disabled child (6 years old, non-verbal, not toilet-trained, tests at about a 1-year level).

I brought along a draft budget that I thought was more realistic than the one prepared by the MMI counselor (he proposed an $860.00 a month payment, which I do not think would be do-able….and would leave us worse off than ever…).

I will pay for the cost of the bankruptcy….probably about 3K-4K. My husband says he will pay me (us) back. We’ll see. He did say that he would find a second job.

I seem to recall that, with the Chapter 13, we would make a monthly payment to a third party….about $300 or so, let’s say.

So….that’s where we are right now. As always…..comments/feedback….always welcome…..

It sounds like a plan. Good of you to go and speak to the counselor and get some path to follow.

$300 a month repayment sounds reasonable, if you can afford it.

I too have been a “lurker” on this blog

Up until now, I too have been a “lurker” on this blog. But after reading this post, I feel compelled to speak up.

What your husband is telling you about filing for bankruptcy (BK) couldn’t be further from the truth. I filed for a chapter 7-BK in Jan 2012, it was discharged in May 2012. In June of 2012, I received my first opportunity to rebuild my credit with an unsecured MasterCard from Capital One. I rented a great apartment downtown Chicago (expensive area) in Feb. 2012 (before my BK was discharged) and then a great 2 bedroom condo just outside of downtown after that. In June 2014, I began looking to purchase a home. My broker was willing to work with me because the BK had been discharged for at least 2 yrs by that time.

In April of 2015, I found the condo of my dreams – a one bedroom loft in the South Loop area of Chicago (for those who don’t know – this area is incredibly pricey and for many, hard to qualify for a mortgage) because I was able to re-establish my credit. Now I have 4 credit cards – and keep the balances pretty low on them (if they have a balance at all) and have become a LOT more disciplined as a result of filing for that BK. It was the best decision I’ve ever made – I was able to stop a judgment to garnish my wages, and get rid of about $30K worth of debt. My atty advised a BK-7 because I didn’t own a home and didn’t have many assets –sort of like what your situation appears to be.

The misconception about BK is that your life will be ruined afterwards, but that’s just not true. You may find that it may be one of the best decisions you could make in the long run. Among the debts that you can get rid of is that hefty AMEX debt and many of your others (except your rent and that school loan!). I’d consult with a BK atty first to find out the full ramifications of filing for BK as opposed to just relying on the word of your hubby.

If credit was applied for in his name while you were married, you can be held responsible for it even if you didn’t sign the application. Better check on this but that was the law a couple of years ago. The only difference is credit established before the marriage.

I brought up the issue of bankruptcy with my husband last night

Well, I brought up the issue of bankruptcy with my husband last night and he is dead set against it, says it would be a mistake for us, that it would affect our being able to rent another apartment were we to move from here.

I never signed anything in relation to an application for credit. I have one card, in my maiden name, that is paid off at the end of every month when it has a balance (there are many months when it does not have a balance). I prefer to pay with cash, or by check.

My husband did get a secondary card on the AMEX account, so, he said, I could more easily purchase groceries/sundries for the household.

Some accounts are just in my maiden name. Others, like the IRA Rollover and the boy’s college funds are in my married name (maiden name plus his name…hyphenated).

As far as I am aware, my husband has no assets. He had a retirement fund, with Hartford, from one of his jobs, but he cashed it in to pay a debt. When his father died he got a small life insurance policy and I believe that went to pay off debts as well, but he did give me something for each of the boy’s 529 NYS College funds.

My husband has his job – $3750. per month in salary. Occasionally he might get a bonus check. This is it.

We have a car payment, but that will end in October. Our rent is $1425. He gives me $40.00 a week (this is used for extras like school pictures, birthday/Christmas gifts for the children, my nieces/nephews, toiletries, and so forth).

He can buy a train ticket (transportation to work) for $160. (monthly pass) and get reimbursed $100.

There is also the matter of the NYS Attorney General’s office asking him to send a check for fourteen hundred something (old school loan) or else they will sue him.

He just buries this stuff in his drawer and I have to dig for it and he won’t talk about it even when I ask direct and pointed questions about things.

I am hoping the meeting tomorrow will force him to realize his situation and that he has to make a radical change in his way of living.

It may be different also since none of the debt is in her name

It may be different also since none of the debt is in her name. He alone will be able to file, separately from his wife. In other words they do not have to file Bankruptcy jointly since she has no access to the cards and they are only in the husbands name. This may be the one occasion where him not “sharing” his credit worthiness with her is a “good thing”!! LOL LOL LOL

With the new BK laws chapter 13 is not a given, it would depend on whether they pass what is called the “Means Test” . Which is an amount in which the laws say you can live on with the number in your family. Plus what expenditures you have, etc…. With an Autistic son their is probably a lot more expenditures than the average family of 4. But they would be “required” for him. I’ve never taken the means test as a whole. I would assume that the entire families income would have to be disclosed etc… but he could still file BK alone.

These funds were in place before I married

These funds were in place before I married….and every cent deposited into them I earned. We’re in New York State. From what I have heard from other contacts, assets purely in my name cannot be attached. Worst case scenario, I’ll transfer my assets into my sister’s name.

We’re in New York State. All of these assets were acquired prior to my marriage. I opened each fund and each deposit into the accounts was made by me.

I spoke with the debt counselor (MMI) that my husband spoke with and he said to me that the IRAS (Rollover and Roth) could not be touched, as per State and Federal law. I’m hoping that’s the case, or it’s ten years worth of savings gone down the drain.

Any posters from New York State out there?

Filing for bankruptcy requires you to reveal all of your finances/financial picture. Therefore, you will have to reveal the retirement accounts and savings where you have this $16,000. A judge may not approve your request to file for bankruptcy once it is known that you have funds to pay the debts, even if you do not want to spend them on that to “rescue” your husband, stubborn as he appears to be.

I do not know the ins and outs of filing for bankruptcy, but I do know that you need to reveal the full picture so the judge can decide whether or not to let you file at all, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Maybe you better get a payday loan here or here and try to stay afloat? Since it is clear that you make enough money to be put on a Ch 13 repayment plan, I think the new threshold is $100 a month repayment plan for 5 years, you may be forced to repay his lousy spending decisions.

Keep us updated.

If you file bankruptcy

if you file bankruptcy, they will take the money you have saved, even if it was done before you were married, it’s become marital assets now. You need to decide what you want to do, contact a bankruptcy attorney and speak to several debt counselors, tread very carefully. In most states the money you bring to a marriage – furniture, car etc. is yours. Then the money you save together, cars etc. is marital property. But the savings will have to be considered if you file for sure – and I don’t know your state law.

And that all depends on what type of fund the money is in. Example: Your 401K is exempt in Bankruptcy.

To protect that money, can you put it into a college fund in the children name? Or possibly a retirement account? I could be mistaken, but since there is a penalty to withdrawl money from my IRA, I believe it is safe even if we file bankruptcy. It would tie the money up from you also, but by all means it’s better than the creditors getting it.

I just wanted to offer you encouragement

I just wanted to offer you encouragement. In April 14 my husband at 46 yrs had such a severe stroke that he is totally disabled. We were constantly arguing over $ 35K in debt that we had even done a debt settlement program. What a nightmare- they charged like 1k to enter the program and 40 per mo “maintenance fees”. Thus pulling out 600 per mo out of our checking acct and bill collectors calling nonstop. Not a real good witness for 5 kids to be watching.I was a SAHM and when the stroke happened I got more surprises- like dh had ‘forgotten’ to pay the mortgage, etc, etc. Yes, one of the cc cos tried to sue.

This all forced me at 50 plus to finally grow up. The ball was squarely in my court and I had to get dh to countless md, pt appts as well as care for 5 school age kids. I hadnt worked in 18 years!!! I found this website that you are reading and was so glad I wasnt alone in this debt nightmare.

I heard the name Dave Ramsey over and over and went to see him in the Cleveland Ohio area and then joined the financial peace university.

Long story short- in less than 2 years we are completely debt free and have 40k in the bank. I can truthfully say it was only God Himself that did this. Our marriage is the BEST it has ever been- when there are no financial worries the fights go down to nothing! I am nobody special-It can happen for you too!

My most recent thoughts on the matter….maybe bankruptcy is best??


I’ve been thinking about this issue almost non-stop these past few days. I’ve also shared the situation with a social worker who handles some things for our son who is autistic. She provided us with a name and number for a man who does debt negotiations. I told my husband (after speaking with this man) that I would like for us to meet with him and see what he will say about what he can do for our situation. I will pay his fee ($300.). It’s a small price to pay if we can arrive at a conclusion that will not be damaging to our sons or the family as a whole.

But….I have also been thinking that bankruptcy might be the best option. After all, buying a house is not an option now….and, given my husbands habits with money, probably wasn’t ever likely.

Where can I find reliable information on bankruptcy options in New York State???

So, why should I write a check for 16K just because my husband asks for it? I’m not an ATM, after all, and those monies were earned, saved, and invested well before we were married and were earmarked for retirement/house/education of the children. I was not working 10-11 hour days with the specific purpose of bailing my husband out of debt, when, with careful and prudent planning, he might have avoided this situation.

I sense that he wants me to pay the money to make it “all better” for him…..without anyone having to know what sort of a situation we are in.

I figured, after I gave him the 40K to pay off his credit debt in 2001 he would have learned his lesson and taken a different path.

My efforts to sit down with him, work out a livable budget, were all rejected. My efforts to find out what was going on financially were rebuffed. I have to poke around in his dresser drawers to find out what is going on. I asked him for the name/number of the debt counselor he spoke with at MMI….he still hasn’t given it to me himself….I had to locate it myself and I’ve emailed and left messages for him but I have not yet spoken with him directly (we seem to be playing telephone tag).

Now I am presented with this disaster and I’m expected to clean it up, along with all the other messes here.

Just out of curiosity, I figured out that the $40.00 a week he gives me as an allowance works out to $5.71 a day or .23 cents per hour for a 24 hour day (since I can be called on at any time).

Thanks again for all your support/feedback/advice and especially to those of you who have emailed me privately.

Another Old Medical Debt – Any Advise Appreciated

Looks like I’m not the only one with this kind of problem.

I could use some advise regarding old medical debt. I was hospitalized for two days in December 2011. It was an emergency situation. I was employed but had no medical insurance. I went to the General Hospital, but as I was not indigent I did not qualify for assistance. I ended up owing thousands of dollars to the hospital and doctors and miscellaneous medical people. I made payments, small, but faithfully and eventually got the doctors and pathologists and labs and everyone paid off but the hospital. It wasn’t easy, as I still had health problems and was physically weak for a long time afterward. Then the county run hospital was shut down and they sent everybody’s bills to collection.

So a local collection agency contacted me by mail and I sent them a letter saying it was pointless for me to pay, since what I could afford to send them would not even cover their interest. The hospital had not charged interest at all. I did send the collection agency payments though, which covered a little bit more than the interest. I did this so my credit would not be ruined. I had been paying them for quite a few months and then one month I had more health problems and frankly was too sick to think about paying the bills or talking to anybody. I was weak. The very next month they sold my account to another collection agency out of town.

I was upset because, first, it wasn’t my fault I was sick, had no insurance from my employer and was not paid enough to buy it on my own, or that the hospital sent it to collection in the first place. I was upset that they didn’t contact me before switching agencies. I knew this meant that they’d already hurt my credit. I did not pay the second collection agency. I did not communicate with them at all. They sent my account back to the original collection agency which continues to send me bills. I haven’t made a payment to them nor communicated with them since November 2013.

It’s funny, the hospital did not sell them all of my debt and I can’t even reach the accounting office of the old hospital anymore to find out what remains. My current debt with the collection agency as they state it is a principle amount of $1265.50, $547.82 in interest and a total due of $1813.32.

How do I go about settling with a collection agency? I would like to settle for the principle when I am able to. I still don’t want to pay their **** interest. I live in California. How much time do you think I have until they would possibly try to take me to court over this, if at all? Does anybody have any knowledge about this kind of situation?

Thank you!!