Divorce, I Don't Know What to Do.

Updated on October 17, 2013
J.M. asks from Lansing, KS
21 answers

I am considering divorce, my husband has been a great husband in all aspects of our life except financially, I just found out today he owes thousands to some suspossed loan shark he is late on our house pymt, and his other personal loans are past due I just don't know what to do I was aware that he was struggling keeping up with the house payment but this other stuff is news to me and a deal breaker. I don't want to divorce him but how can I stay with someone who has put us in harm's way financially, he has borrowed money from his mom and sister this year to keep up and I was totally unaware. We both work I just don't get it I can make my half of the bills. I am scared I am going to lose everything I have worked so hard for. And feel like I have no one to talk to, if I tell my family or friends they will all know (it can never be forgotten even if I do forgive him at some point.)
I guess I should add I'm not trying to run away I'm trying to protect myself and my child. And we have always done our money separate and each had it set as to who pays what for us, his deal was the house and insurance and mine was the rest of the household bills. it has always seemed to work until recently. I am scared and feel like I have no one I can talk to.

What can I do next?

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answers from Chicago on

If he really owes money to a loan shark than you do have big problems. But I would agree with the previous poster that you need more information about where the money is going.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Do you have anyone you and the kiddo's can stay with for a few months? If you move out and separate for that amount of time with counseling being the only contact you have it might be what wakes him up. He's doing something with his money, it's unknown what at this time but he's doing something.

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answers from Washington DC on


If your husband is a good man outside of finances, I truly believe that you need to give your marriage a fighting chance. So before you throw in the towel? Get counseling. Get Financial Counseling - NOW.

Go to the library and borrow books by Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman. Read them.

Then figure out how to get out of this mess. If that means YOU take over ALL the bills and give him an allowance - that's how it needs to be.

Divorcing him won't rid of you of the debt - especially if the house has your name on it as well. You'll still be responsible. However, nasty the loan shark is - you might need to refinance the house - if you can - and use any equity you might have in it to pay the loan shark off.

If you have a whole life insurance policy or 401K - borrow against it. It's NOT the wisest choice - but this may be your last option. Yes, it will be costly. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, it is NOT the first option - this should ONLY be considered as a last resort.

You need to stand tough right now and unfortunately, act more like his mother than his partner. You need to get out of this mess. You don't want a loan shark using your family as pawns in your husband's mess.

TAKE ALL OF HIS credit cards away. DEBIT cards as well. Have him deposit his check into YOUR account, delve out an allowance to him each week or two weeks and make him account for every cent. Yes, this is sad. Yes, this will be hard. But in order to save your family - you will have to be strongest you've ever been.

Do NOT yell at him. DO NOT SCREAM AT HIM - I know that's what you WANT to do. But you can't. It will NOT help the situation. You need to get him to bring ALL to the table. What he owes, who it owes it to, ALL of it. Insurance, Mortgage, loan shark, mom, sister, ANYONE he owes money to. Then sit down and start figuring it out as a couple.

Ask him HOW he got into this mess?
What was sooo important that he couldn't trust you with the information?

And as mad and hurt as you are? LISTEN, with an open heart and mind. Yes, it will be hard. Yes. It will hurt. I'm NOT going to sugar coat this for you and tell you - ooh honey - it will all be good in a week or two. Sorry. It won't. he will have to earn your trust back. He will have to account for his behavior.

During this conversation - you need to reiterate - the ONLY way your marriage will survive is if he comes clean - now - ALL OF IT...then TOGETHER work on it. Tell him that YOU WILL be taking over all the bill paying. There's NOT an option. You will show him the bills and what is being paid - but he cannot do this again.

If it means that he needs to take a second job in order to pay back the money - then that will need to be done. But no more financial cheating. EVER.

I understand you are scared. I understand you feel like you are alone. You are not. You CAN do this. It will NOT be easy. But with patience and a plan (and God) you can get through this.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You're panicking. Stop and take a breath.

WHY is having financial problems? That's what you need to find out. Talk to him. Without hysteria, without threats, without judgement.

Where is the money going? Gambling? Drugs? A secret love child?

Once you know *why* he is having this problem and where the money is going, then figure out what to do.

You can't just cut and run over this. You'll blow things up and make it worse, and "his" financial problems will become half "your" financial problems.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Problem with divorce, you will still get half the debt plus you will have to pay attorneys. That doesn't sound like a good way to get out of the hole.

There is something that I don't understand, how can you say you are making half the bills if you didn't know what the bills are. Do you have savings? Is it possible you don't make enough to cover half of anything and he was trying to hide it from you in a very stupid way.

You need to figure out what is going on and work through it. Otherwise you need to look at all this debt and consider whether you can pay your half. I doubt it which is probably why this happened.

I am assuming by loan shark type you are talking payday loans?

You guys need to communicate.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

isnt a Marriage two people or did I miss something. Your both adults. Why do you not have a clue where the money is?

There had to be some sort of flag going up earlier and why would he be in such a place that a Loan shark is in this picture?

Of course that is not good no one wants to be in debt, but you dont up and run from a, as you say "great guy" that has money problems.

Of course it cant be forgotten. Forgiven maybe but that doesnt mean you run.

Might be best everyone knows then, you might have a place to start and fix it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If you love him and he is a good husband then why would you leave over money? Yes, he needs help, you need to sit down together and figure out how do dig out. That may mean selling your home and downsizing, cutting out extras like cable and internet or cell phones, and other cuts.

If you decide to divorce him don't think that will be a magic bullet, you will have to take half the debt with you and you will more then likely still lose your home. And if, after the divorce he claims bankruptcy then they will come after you and expect you to pay the debts, that is what happened to my father when he divorced his second wife.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

If he's a good husband, then try to repair what you have. While what he did was irresponsible and wrong, you have to own up to your negligence in this as well. Being in a marriage is a partnership where both parties are equally liable in the end. You need to stay on top of all spending, bills, cash flow, and delinquencies in the marriage at all times.
My advice? Together you both need to lay all the debt out on the table. Make sure your husband comes clean with everything. Once that is done, you can assess the real damage and problem you have. You probably only know part of the picture at this point.
Then, you take over all financial aspects of the home. All of them- the mortgage, all the bills, spending, budgets, etc. Put everything in your name, including all online access, and monitor all accounts religiously. Consolidate all the debt and only have 1 checking/savings account where all bills are paid in their entirety. None of this he pays this and I pay that- that's where things get messy.
Anyway, I do hope you can work this out. If you love him, you can work it out. You two will have to work together to make it happen. It might get ugly, but remember the partnership aspect of this. You have just as much as stake has he does, and divorcing will just make things worse financially.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's time to meet with a therapist. There is a reason why he is not managing your finances. Does he have a drug problem? Gambling? Perhaps he is dealing with an addiction and would be willing to get help? Before you totally throw in the towel (which I understand), I would talk with him and get into see a therapist ASAP.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J., I don't know what to tell you other then if you do divorce him, later on you may find yourself financially stable, but missing the man you love, wouldn't that hurt more?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

My husband has a spending and budgeting problem, I thought early in our marriage that I would divorce him if he didn't shape up. Instead, I took over taking care of the budget and he doesn't do any of it anymore. However, in your case the loan shark stuff is really scary, and this has gone beyond just mismanaging money. He has some kind of addiction he is hiding, and you need to find out what it is and then make a choice what to do then.

I take marriage vows very seriously. We have been through some of the worst things two people can deal with in a marriage and each time we came out of it stronger and better for it, we fixed the problems, learned to communicate better and continue to be best friends. But unless both people want to fix it, it is usually impossible to fix. You both need marriage counseling and really soon before this gets any worse.

What you are dealing with is fixable, but not unless the two of you start being totally honest and transparent with each other. Does he know you know? What was his response to that? Does he have a real plan to solve this issue or is he just treading water at this point?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

See if you can talk to a counselor at a domestic violence shelter. Many shelters have programs for just about everything and you do not need to be a resident.
I agree is he made a deal with a loan shark you and your child could be in danger, you need to have a long talk with him about this. Even if you leave him you could still be a target.
This could be a sign of a bi-polar disorder. Counseling would help a lot and hopefully a good counselor would be able to spot the signs of mental illness if he has any and help you to decide how to help him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Are you asking if you should divorce him, or have you already decided? I don't know that I'd be willing to up and leave my husband under the same circumstances, but you say that it's a deal-breaker, and you are the one who gets to determine that.

Maybe you're just venting. You're obviously scared. Talk to him. Rewrite the rules. Decide on a more transparent system and be more involved with the whole of the household finances. Sometimes you will need to contribute more for the sake of the whole ship. As you are learning, it's not enough to just have your agreed-upon portion and be blind to the rest of it.

I think that you should consider this a life lesson and move forward--with THIS husband, if everything else is so good--with more knowledge.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you need marriage counseling, not a divorce. It seems to me there is a lack of communication from both of you.

You knew he was late on the mortgage payment? How? What discussion happened about it and plan was made to get caught up? If you knew and left it up to him, this was how he decided to solve it. It wasn't the right way, but....

Why is he struggling? To me and for me, that's the bigger question. Does he have a gambling problem? Did he lose his job? Is he using drugs? These are all questions that should be answered before considering a divorce.

What type of loan is it? Has the note increased lately? What about the insurance, is the payment amount still the same? Again these are questions that need answers.

Divorce should be viewed as a last resort. It also won't let you off the hook for any joint debt, all that would have to be hammered out in your decree. remember your vows, you haven't mentioned anything in this question that would suggest a divorce, IMO.

You have to be open to talking to him without judging him and in this post you are judging him. Don't compare what you are able to do with what he can do. Instead of trying to find someone else to talk to about it, talk to him.

Good luck

Oh and just a fyi, the other household bills rarely equal the mortgage payment. You may not be contributing as much as he needs you to. Again, a discussion needs to happen, not divorce.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I'm with Wild Woman. Excellent advice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Mom, you have to go talk to a divorce attorney. You need REAL advice for someone in your state and you need to get your ducks in a row to protect yourself and your children.

This loan shark business is actually kind of scary. Even if you aren't trying to run away, you have an obligation to your children to protect them from shady people your husband has attached himself to.

Sometimes love isn't enough. And quite frankly, you would do well to understand that you cannot keep your husband's mistakes a secret from family and friends. You think you need to protect him, but what you are really doing is enabling him. Please don't do this. The only way he will fix this terrible problem of his is to admit it and get help. And you should demand that he get help. The last thing you need is people blaming YOU for protecting you and your children.

Go get a lawyer. And I recommend you go to a counselor to talk this through. You do need help and it's important that you get it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If he's in deep to a loan shark, pack up your choldren and run, don't walk away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My guess is he has another addiction... for a free support system there are so many kind people in AA. Not knowing what it is, and not knowing if you have insurance to go to a therapist you might direct this to someone there. It's not over til it's over. Divorce is really difficult at this point because you are so emotionally tied and you need to ooze out some of your anger.



answers from Orlando on

I would confront him. Ask him to go to counseling with you, if he refuses, go yourself.
I have a friend going through this right now. He is a gambler, they are way in debt. He lied about the money, what else is he lying about? She has had it and filed for divorce 7 months ago. She has been at stay at home Mom for 13 years. He is fighting her tooth and nail and is still under the same roof making her life miserable. She is tired of the lies and disrespect. They have been in counseling for more than half their marriage and she wishes she would have seen it sooner and filed sooner.
You are not alone, but you have to talk to him and find out what is going on, and then decide if it is worth it to stay, or if you would be better off alone. His debt can affect your credit too.
Good luck to you.



answers from Washington DC on

Not only do you need financial help, you need marital counseling. You need to find out if this is a variant of a gambling addiction. My xSF did that to my mom - borrowed from everybody, lied to her, let things get to the brink and then saved the day...it was a form of gambling to him, and if that is how it is with your DH, then that will also need to be addressed. You need to know WHY he hid it from you. And how he behaved now that it was out of the bag would matter to me, too. If he wasn't remorseful, that would be even more hurtful. No remorse (and other behaviors) are why he is her EX.

The FIRST thing I would do is get all the bills on the table. If his and hers isn't working, then make it yours until this is under control. He can direct deposit most of his check into your account and he doesn't even see it. Find out exactly what needs to be done to keep the roof over your head. Don't rely on him. Call the company yourself. You may also need to have a meeting with him and his sister and his mom, to see exactly what was owed to whom. That's a bill, too.

If you are on the brink of divorce, also see a marriage counselor. If nothing else, you and he will have to manage your children's needs if you divorce. What will happen if he doesn't pay Johnny's soccer camp fee? Or can't give you half for Susan's summer lake camp? Those are financial decisions, too.



answers from New York on

Divorce is not the immediate answer to your problem. It sounds like you really want to make your marriage work and you need to determine if he wants the same.

Sit down and discuss everything, how bad is the financial problem and what is causing it, and how the 2 of you are going to work together and fix this mess. You may be able to do it on your own, you may need the help of financial counselors.

Isn't there one friend or trusted family member that you can talk to that will keep this just between the 2 of you. You may be surprised to know that they are already aware of the situation.

Best of luck to you.

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