Dept Consolidation or Private Bankruptcy

Updated on May 09, 2010
A.S. asks from Manhattan, KS
10 answers

My husband has very good credit and good savings.
Not so much me. I do not know my credit score, but I do have about $ 15000 of dept all with Bank of America.
Made all by myself, none of it is my husbands.
My friend told me to file private bankruptcy and to start with a clean slate, but I need more information.
1. If I file will this affect my husband's credit? Will he have anything to do with this or would it be treated as if I wasn't even married. As stated, he has nothing to do with my dept, hasn't signed anything.
2. How long will it take before I can start building good credit. My friend said 7 years, is that right?
On another note, has anyone of you ever used a dept consolidation company?
If so, would you recommend one? Did this help you tackle your dept?
Because right now I just can't seem to be able to reduce any of it, because of the monthly fees etc.
Any advice would be helpful.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Are you able to divide the amount you owe by how much you can comfortably pay each month (above the minimum) and commit to that over the long haul, then have that fixed amount automatically withdrawn and deposited to BOA? Out of msight, out of mind.

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answers from Chicago on

I don't know about your state but here if the debt is obtained during marriage then your spouse is obligated too. I wouldn't suggest going thru a debt consolidation co, because you can do the same thing they would do but they will charge you a lot. And filing bankruptcy is a cop out in my eyes. It's your debt so pay it off. Close out your account & ask them to lower your interest rate, at first they probably won't but call everyday & be persistent. I also agree with getting a Dave Ramsey book or better yet taking one of his classes. If you go to his website & put in your zip code there will be classes held close to you & the class itself is inexpensive but you will learn so much about bankruptcy, debt consolidation & everything else that has to do with money. In his class he also provides specific forms to send to your credit card company to discuss a payment plan & other options. Take the class!!!!!!

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answers from Sioux Falls on

Bankrupcy will affect both your credit when you are married. Debt consolidation will hurt your credit too.
Please check out Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. It will show you a realistic way to get out of debt. He calls it snowballing your debt. It works! I can't tell you the whole coarse, but it is a 13 week commitment of one evening a week, and it is worth it's weight in gold! Being under that kind of stress is impossible to bear. Please check it out. Go to

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answers from Kansas City on

Check out Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover or Financial Peace University. He has very common sense ways to eliminate debt. Account information is removed from your credit report 7 years after last activity on that account, except for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which stays on for 10 years. (Reference: Dave Ramsey FPU) Also, according to Dave Ramsey debt consolidation is con. Debt consolidation typically saves little or no interest because you will throw yor low interest loans into the deal. You can't borrow your way out of debt, and smaller payments equal more time in debt. (Reference Dave Ramsey FPU)

I hope this helps, and best of luck to you!


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answers from Pittsburgh on have 15K debt, why can't you pay it off? It will take time but it is your debt and you are responsible for it, I think.
Get Financial Peace by Dave Ramsay and follow the debt snowball technique for paying off debt. It works!

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answers from Washington DC on

Once you are married your debts become joint - even if only one name is on the account. If you file bankruptcy, it will definitely effect both of you.

Your best bet would be to call your debtors and get them to negotiate your interest rate and a payment plan.

As others have suggested, Dave Ramsey had a wonderful program! You can borrow his book from the library for free. In summary of his program, you first need to have a $1,000 emergency fund. Then make a list of your debts from smallest to largest, and pay them in that order. Pay the minimum amount on the larger debts and pay everything you can afford to pay on the smallest debt. Once that is paid off, take the money you were putting towards that and pay it on the next smallest debt on your list. By doing it that way you will visually see the debt reduction and it will encourage you to continue working towards living debt free. Once you are debt free, work towards increasing your emergency fund to be equal to 6 mos of expenses so that you won't get yourself back into debt in the future.

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answers from San Francisco on

I have a friend that actually went and had her finances seperated from her husbands becasue of his money habits and as mostof it was before marriage then she wasn't responsible for any of that only what happened after the marriage untl the money seperation. They file seperate tax forms as well. You were willing to get into the debt and like most of us have to dig ourselves out of the hole of it. If the debt is for school loans or medical then you might get the bank to help but if it is just fun stuff that you don't even have or use anymore like eatting out, clothes, gas the bank who will run acheck to see how you usd your cards ( learned this from someone at my bank) then they most likely won't have mercy. You don't say if you have children, so thinking you don't what about getting a job that all the money goes towrd the debt you will be surprised at how quickly it will get paind off and in the meantime you will learn not to add more by spending money you don't really have.This is a tough lesson and I have learned that I am not alone in leaning it.
Good Luck

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answers from Seattle on

Hmmm.... I'm not sure on all of this, but I do know that sometimes credit can be considered separately for husband and wife. My husband bought a truck for his job after we were married and we ended up putting it in my name. I had much better credit and could get a zero down loan and a lower interest rate - things that his credit wouldn't allow him to qualify for. So, I think that I could be possible that this could be done without affecting your husband's credit.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Have you approached the bank and asked if they can rewrite the terms of the loan or lower the interest? I would start with them first.

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answers from Portland on

It is my understanding that married couples are considered as one when it comes to getting credit approval. I don't know how they combine the info. Perhaps they average the two scores. I believe that the only way you will have an accurate and legal answer is if you contact the experts; perhaps an attorney.

I know that when I was married and we purchased a house the mortgage company obtained credit reports and history on both of us and included them in making their decision.

If most of your debt is with B of A I suggest that debt consolidation will not help you and in fact will cost more in the long run. Debt consolidation offices charge for the service. They contact each company and arrange for lower payments but the interest rate can stay the same. It depends on the company. You then send one payment to the debt consolidation office and they pay each individual company. The debt its self is not consoidated.

I've also read that you can do this for yourself and therefore not have to pay someone else to do it. You can call each company and arrange to restructure the account. You can, in some cases, ask to close the account and they will lower the interest rate. You can negotiate various terms. I don't know how that would affect your credit score but I suspect that you would still be able to use credit.

If you consolidate debt thru a professional company, your accounts are closed. You cannot use them, neither can you open new ones until all of them are paid off. I think this would affect your ability as a married couple to use credit but I'm not sure

I've also heard from a trusted source that Dave Ramsey has good advice.
I do recommend that you get answers from professionals before you do anything.

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