09 Aug My Wife Got Us Into This Debt By Running Up Credit Cards!
A furious husband found out that his wife had charged over $60,000 on their credit cards and they weren’t in a position to repay them. I could practically see the steam coming out of his ears and the shame on her face as they sat in my conference room discussing bankruptcy.
But it only took me a minute to see what the real problem was. It was the husband, not the wife.
Early in the marriage, the couple had decided that the husband would pay the largest expenses with his check since it was bigger. So he paid for the mortgage and the car payments, and the wife would buy food, pay the utilities and cover miscellaneous household expenses. This arrangement continued throughout the years, and the husband covered “his share” while dutifully putting money into retirement, and also carefully saving for some extras like a new car every few years.
Meanwhile the wife was struggling to pay for everything else as their family grew to a family with four children! We wrote down the couple’s joint income and expenses and there it was in black and white. I turned to the husband and asked him how he would propose covering the expenses that we had outlined as “her share” with only the amount his wife earned. Clearly, it couldn’t be done, but as their family changed they had never sat down to work up a new budget that would adequately cover the necessary expenses for the entire family using both incomes.
As it turned out, there wasn’t much extra money once the budget was balanced. A chapter 7 bankruptcy, sale of one of the cars and a few other sacrifices got this family back on their feet with a promise that they would review their family’s needs at least once yearly from now on.
Susanne Robicsek, Charlotte NC Bankruptcy Attorney
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