In 1996, I divorced my wife and with that divorce came the normal dividing of property and assets. There also was the discussion regarding our credit card debt. We were married for 5 years and used the credit cards as a couple, but the credit cards were in my name only. Sadly, it became my responsibility to pay for the huge debt that we had created together.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, you are not alone. Experts say there has been a 20 percent rise in bankruptcy filings, and it is estimated that a large part of this is due to divorce. But don't worry, if you find yourself in this situation, you will have several options. One thing you could do is file for bankruptcy. Statistics show that many people are doing just that. But you should know that if you choose this option, a bad mark will stay on your credit report for ten years. Another option would be to simply make the payments. But for many people, after going though a divorce, they find that living on one income is a difficult adjustment, and are forced to only make the minimum payments. That can take what seems like a lifetime, to pay off your debts. For example, if you have a debt of $25,000 and are paying an average interest rate of 18%, it would be thirty-two years before you paid off that debt! You could be paying for those purchases well up into your 60’s or 70's!
Another option is to seek out professional help. There are several non-profit organizations that specialize in debt relief, and many people seek this type of help after a divorce. Here’s how it works. For a small fee of around $14.00 per month debt relief companies will analyze your credit card debt, living expenses and income in order to determine what type of repayment structure would best work for you. They will then contact your creditors and work with them regarding interest rates, late fees, and payment amounts. Because credit card companies understand that divorce is one of the leading causes for bankruptcy, they usually won't have a problem working with the credit repair company. After all, they do want their money!
Non-profit agencies do not report credit counseling to credit bureaus, but most credit card companies do. You may see this as a negative thing, but many people don’t. Credit counseling can be explained a lot more easily than bankruptcy. And bankruptcy is often a deal stopper for someone trying to buy a home, or even purchase a car.
While you are in credit counseling you will not be allowed to retain or apply for a credit card, but for most people who find themselves in this situation, that can be a relief. Think about that as you are cutting them up into little peices. I know I did. And with each chunk of plastic that fell in the trash, it was a chipping away of the old and a birth of the new. There’s a feeling of relief that comes over you when you know you don’t have to worry about those mounting credit card bills. And when you are going through a divorce, the more relief you can get, the better.
If you would like to get more credit information you can visit our website which contains many credit resources. http://www.my-credit-report.info
This article is copyright 2005, but can be freely reprinted, as long as no changes are made, including hyperlinks.