I Have HAD IT! Help Me Please!

Updated on June 28, 2012
K.H. asks from Fernley, NV
17 answers

So throughout my 4 year marriage my husband has had control of our finances, I am a SAHM and take care of everything else while he works. During our marriage he has been sued or garnished 3 or 4 times for non payment of bills he had before we got married. Silly me had no clue of anything(I always tell people to get a credit check on thier SO). I just assumed that after each one we had everything taken care of. 1 1/2 years ago I had him pull his credit report and start making payment arrangements and start paying stuff off which he did-no more garnishemnts! Anyways while on vacation while he was out of town I tried using my credit card which we agreed was to be my spending money only to discover the card and it's remaining 700$ limit wasmaxed out! Turns out he used it on bills(at 21% interest!). I was livid and couldn't understaand why he didn't wait the 5 days until we got paid to pay bills. When we got home I did some detective work and found out he was using those payday loan companies for more bills he was about to get garnished for. That same day I was putting laundry away and found a stack of envelopes from the IRS addressed to him which I opened and discovered he owed more than 21,000$ to the federal gov't and another 20k to the state we used to live in. What happened was he didn't file taxes for about 5 years(before we even met). I confronted him and made him call the IRS which had him set up a payment plan that, totaling our other bills, is 400$ more per month than he makes! I am 34 weeks pregnant and freaking the f out. I'm looking for work as we speak-he is looking for anothe job. I am PISSED!!! I don't know why it only just now hit me but I just want to scratch his eyes out and scream. I currently have aseperate account but that has no money in it-Like I said SAHM and I only get money from him. I want to be completely responsible for bills now since obviously he hasn't learned-take his credit card, give him a small cash allowance and have all the bills moved to my name-how do you suggest I go about telling him this is how it's going to be? I am not willing to let him "fix" stuff anymore-it is non negotiable obviously he isn't to be trusted-but I also want to keep some measure of peace in our house and not totally emasculate him(even though I want to cut his junk off). I am angry like I said-I am due in a little over a month and will probably return to work a week or so after I have this LO-I had to do that when I was a single mom and here I am at it again. Sorry for the vent:( I am heartbroken and scared!
We called those tax relief places and they want aound 2000$ to set up payment plans-not happening!
I don't even know how we will begin to pay for the baby's birth! We paid the actual drs office already but the hospital is a whole other story!

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

lol at Dad on purpose!
I know where his issues at being awful with money stem from-he grew up in extreme poverty and at 12 got a job to help support his mom and 2 little brothers, 14 he acquired his second job. I think his problem is also not being able to tell me no we can't afford it. I always ask if we can and he thinks he is making me happy by saying "yes!". Honestly I would rather be broke and have all the bills paid than go around spending money we don't have!!!! I have to put my 5 year old in school now(he was going to be homeschooled) and now find childcare for the other (soon to be)2, while figuring out how I am going to keep pumping and nursing. How funny you mentioned ADHD-I have severe ADD and our son has ADHD as well-never even considered my husband having it. I am also not going to leave him! When he spoke with the IRS he gave them an accounting of our bills and they still told him this particular figure was the absolute minimum he could pay each month. Thanks so much for your kind words! I feel I don't deserve them-you know the saying Fool me once...-it totally applies here!

Featured Answers



answers from Columbia on

I agree with Jo - with or without the adhd.

You can be happy, or you can be right - almost never both at the same time.

It sounds like you need to be happy - so "volunteer" to handle all the finances. Congratulations, you just got promoted. You are now the CFO of the 'smith home corp'. :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I love my husband, but I have to tell you that I think I could deal with an affair easier than I could deal with this. I would be getting a divorce, and a tax lawyer to help me get the IRS to not charge me, the unsuspecting spouse, with his debt.

No joke.


6 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

You might look into the filing Innocent Spouse claims with the IRS if appropriate. If you do start working and have your own money this may protect you from being garnished or held responsible for any of his IRS debt that you were unaware of. I would at least confirm that the IRS doesn't consider you responsible for this debt since you are the spouse.

Good luck to you. What a stressful situation to be in.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Sam Walton said he became successful because he recognised what he could do very well and the things he couldn't do well at all. He did those things he could do well and hired people to do those things he couldn't do well.

Your husband can't do bills or credit cards well. You can. You should take over that chore.

Go back to the IRS and renegotiate with them your repayment schedule and how much you have to repay. If one of those "$2000 tax relief" places can lower the amount you owe to the IRS by a lot more than $2000, then it makes sense to use them.

You should pull a credit report for your husband. Look at all of the unpaid or charged off bills he has. Then decide if you need to declare bankruptsy. Bankruptsy won't clear a debt to the IRS. I don't know if it will clear a debt to a state. Then get help paying off your other debts. Talk to a credit counselor.

I did credit/debt counselling for my church. Its not that hard to get out of debt if you are willing to change. It means not going out to eat, lunch or dinner. It means going to Red box instead of Imax for a movie night. My wife and I got a DVD recorder through out cable system. We record TV movies and watch them when we want. AND we fast forward through the commercials so a 2 hour movie usually takes 90 minutes.

It won't be easy, but it is doable. PM me if you want some suggestions or want to go over your bills for suggestions.

Good luck to you and yours.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

oh, my dear. i just cannot even imagine how furious and terrified you must be.
i'd have a really, really hard time forgiving this.
i totally get being bad with money. i was always robbing peter to pay paul when i did our finances (since i took accounting in school i seemed the natural choice.) we didn't get out of debt until my husband took over.
but even as inept and bumbling as i was, i never lied to my husband or abused our finances to this degree.
i'm so very sorry.
as for how to tell him how it will be, i don't see why THAT'S the problem here. you tell him flat out and if he doesn't like it, he can hit the highway. he has STOLEN from you. while you're carrying his child. if he's not putting every single cell of his being into making that right, i just can't see how this can possible be fixed. money isn't the at the root of good marriages, but honesty and trust sure are.
this betrayal will be hard to get past. i wouldn't be worried about 'emasculating' him at this point by taking the money away from him. he's a baby when it comes to money. you wouldn't give a baby the keys to the car, would you?
the difference is that babies really don't know any better.
peace in the house is important, but not more so than your own peace of mind. put yourself first.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on


Is he ADHD perhaps? We suck at paying bills.

If he is then don't call it trust, just say I am at home, I have more time to schedule everything, for both of our sake I am taking over the finances. :)

See if you can find a not for profit credit counseling service. I think Consumer Credit still exists.

I am very much ADHD and for some strange reason stress about money creates binge spending which of course makes it worse. Also when you are over your head you give up and then binge spend.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have an immediate relative like this. In this person's case, he only found out later in life he had ADHD and it played a major role in how he handled finances throughout his whole life. In short, he was always chronically late and slow to do day to day things, and couldn't organize or prioritize in other areas of his life, so why would finances be different?

In the case of this relative, he almost lost his house and job and a credit counselor (not the same as those companies like you mentioned....usually free or low fee sometimes private or through local government or county) was needed to help get him organized, help him track down all forgotten creditors and bills so a payment plan could be put together, and to help referee the ensuing fight when it was determined his spouse should manage the books instead of him. He had access to the account created for his personal spending account and was present for bill paying etc., but he was not allowed to allocate funds for bills, the household, or his spouse's personal spending account.

They also got a program like Quicken so they could see everything in print and easily know what was due, when, and what funds were available for paying it. Whatever bills could be paid through an automatic account were done that way to cut down on the temptation of spending the money elsewhere or on frivolrous stuff and it helps with having to remember when to make payments or write a check etc. because it's automatically taken care of for you. The key here is to remember when the automatic withdrawls will take place so you don't bounce checks. You may have to set up an account just for those types of bills if it's too tricky for you to remember.

In the case of your spouse he probably started using the temporary credit when he lost track of regular bills. Don't need to tell you they're sharks and will drive you to the poor house faster than a credit card, but you need to stress to him that this isn't a viable solution when funds are short. He needs to understand that it's always better to swallow your pride and make arrangements with creditors. Hopefully a credit counselor will make that clear for him.

If worse comes to worse and you aren't willing or able to do the payment plan a credit counselor sets up or recommends, consider filing bankruptcy and start from scratch before you lose your home. Things will be tight, but that's a small price to pay to get everything out in the open and cleared up so you can move forward with you handling the finances.

Last but not least, in the case of your spouse, it may not be an inability to stay organized, but an actual spending addiction at play here. He may need actual therapy...not just credit counseling to get at the heart of why he is doing strange things with bills and money. Maybe he has issues that you're not aware of. Do you know where he is spending the money? Is it on other things besides household expenses? Does he have credit accounts you don't know about? This is very important to find out. He may be hiding something way worse than messed up credit from you. Now is the time to find out. You can pull free credit reports once a year. Pull for the both of you from all 3 major reporting agencies and find out what is actually out there on you two and take it from there. Make it a habit on your part to pull credit once a year to keep tabs on debt so you won't get anymore surprises.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

You will get others to say to check out Dave Ramsey (I think its daveramsey.com). He has great advice. Also, you need to just tell hubby that you are going to be in charge of getting the finances back in place. There is no discussion about this. He will get an allowance and you will pay everything else. I had this issue with my first husband but not my second husband. What I do now is a I have a spread sheet that lists all our monthly bills with the phone number and account number, date due, amount due, date paid, amount paid and confirmation number. On the first of every month, I call all of them and go thru the automated system and fill in my sheet how much is due and when. Then I call in and make payments as I can (my husband and I are not salary, we are commission only). I have my hubands debit card info and pay all the bills out of that account. Then I fill it out on my sheet with the confirm number so I have a record of it. Some months I can pay all the bills in one day, other months I have to juggle stuff around. This works for us and we are a cash only family. If we don't have the cash in the bank, we don't buy it. Its as simple as that. You guys need to get to that point and your husband needs some help. You need to put a lock down on him and his spending until this is under control. Its hard, but you can do it. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

New baby, new job, debt...lots of stresses there.

As a concerned mom my first suggestion is to get whatever free help you can get after the baby is born. Call in favors with friends and family...maybe even a local church can provide kindly grandmother types to help with the baby after you get off work, even through the night some nights.

As for your debt, this isn't the time to enable your husband by allowing him to think if he isn't control of your finances, he isn't a real man. I think his manhood should be the least of your worries. He has already emasculated himself by allowing this to happen to his family and by putting his wife in the position you are in. His mistakes are ruining your family and risking the health of his baby. He needs to grow up, buck up, and not only allow you to take charge for now but fully cooperate with you. When finances are back in line and he proves worthy, then he can take over the bills again. Making money is one thing, managing is another.

Call your bank and see if they can refer you to a good debt relief organization or company.

As for your new job, I pray they will be sympathetic as you adjust to having a newborn. May they be gracious in providing you alot of time off!

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Please take care of yourself and your baby.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So sorry! This is terrible.

I think you just need to tell him that you are going to be in charge of all the finances and it is he that will need to have an allowance. Dealing with money is obviously something he can not do responsibly.

My husband started his own business, and led me to believe that he was bringing home about $2,000 - $3,000 a month in salary. I added that to my salary and thought we were doing fine - had plenty of money left for me buy extra baby clothes, shop at Central Market, or other frivolous things. After a YEAR I find out that most months he was not bringing home ANY money - total - it was about $8,000.

I was SO ANGRY. He didnt tell me because he felt bad and didnt want me to worry. He thought he could turn things around. I was PISSED because, if I had known, I would have been super frugal. We could have dealt with it as a team.

I will say that there are two ways to have more money - make more and spend less. You can go back to work. I am sure you can ALSO save hundreds of dollars a month - no cable, get rid of a car payment and buy a used cheap car, go down to one car, NEVER eat out. If you DO eat out, make the kids share a meal and only order water for drinks.

I know the housing market is not great there - but you can look in to selling your house (if you have one) and moving in to some place cheaper.

Any sacrifices you make are TOTALLY worth it - if it means you dont have to worry about money. I LOVE driving an old junky car and living in a little house with old furniture because it means we can pay our bills and even have a savings account.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

If I were you, I would contact a Financial Advisor and see how you can go about paying off your bills you owe w/o putting you into more debt and also having at least some money every month after paying bills. You do need gas for your cars and groceries every month too. I am not very good with money either and I was $4,000 in the hole when my DH and i met, he made me tear those CC up and put them on his debt and he too is in control of all our finances bc i like to spend money and i am a shop-aholic, so it is good that one of us is good with our money. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I don't think there is a rule that if a man doesn't pay bills he isn't the man so you need to pay the bills. One of the people in a marriage is usually better at doing that and not always the man. I pay our bills as I do it better and don't stress over it and keep better records, etc. I also enjoy it more and it's no big deal. As for the mess you are both in, follow some of the advice given that you can use, don't follow what you can't use and get help. Set up a plan the best way you can find and don't let him have credit cards, money in your account, etc. until he can prove he is responsible with it and until bills are paid off. He needs to grow up and make a plan with you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You can work out a payment plan with the IRS without one of the TAX RELIEF PLACES, I think they are all a bunch of blood suckers. If you submit a truthful status of your income and debt to the IRS, they will work with you...."something to them is better then nothing". You can infact suggest a payment amount to the IRS.

As for your husband's debts prior to your marriage, I would do some research on that, especially if you don't plan on staying with him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sorry you have to deal w/all of this when your 34weeks preggers. Try not to worry too much about this and just focus on the now.
Yrs back my husband owed the state money b/c he had a bus and didn't file one yr so they estimated his tax. Well after getting his wages garnished for awhile and me calling repeatedly to resolve the matter, I finally did. We pd most of it off but owed 2k and they erased the debt (if I remember correctly might have been the penalty fees).
And I'm not sure if you have applied or not, but please apply for medicaid! Most people don't realize its easier to get medicaid when you're pregnant. You can pick up and application and theres even a place to write your due date on the application so the process is expedited. I don't know for sure if the same rules apply for pregnancy and property assets, but its worth a shot. I was making good money when I got preg and received it w/a share of cost. I didn't have any children and you have two plus yourself on one income, this means your family income can be much greater than a single persons income.



answers from Dallas on

Why does one person manage the finances of a marriage? Seems like this should be something that is managed together where both parties are always aware of the financial situation of the family unit. Isn't this typically what financial advisors recommend doing, too?
Instead of taking charge of the finances, you should tell your hubby that you will be preparing a budget, paying bills and managing your finances together.



answers from Boston on

Do not transfer anything in your name. Take care of the bill s for now. Man I feel for ya!!



answers from Kansas City on

You learned a hard lesson. I'm a firm believer that finances should be transparent and both spouses need to be involved. Is there a debt counseling/consolidation place that is free? Can you reduce your spending (i.e. rent a smaller place, etc) to try to pay off debt faster?

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