The Link Between Debt, Bankruptcy, & Divorce

Valentine’s Day is the dedicated day where people can express their love, affection, and appreciation for their spouse, fiancé, partner, or significant other. Flowers and chocolates are usually the gifts of choice. However, this year has been anything but ordinary. After coming through the pandemic and its aftershocks, many families and couples are struggling a little more this year because of rising inflation, higher gas prices, and higher food prices. Family dollars aren’t stretching as far as they once did, and it’s causing people to fall behind.

The Link Between Debt, Bankruptcy, and Divorce Unfortunately, every divorce lawyer I know is busier than ever before. Why? Because debt causes stress in a relationship and, believe it or not, is one of the biggest causes of divorce. Did you know that one of the intended purposes of bankruptcy is to save marriages that might break up due to debt?

A fresh start without debt can be a fresh start in the marriage. Wouldn’t you just love to have a fresh start and hit the reset button? Wouldn’t you like to go back to the days where you and your significant other lived without debt or had much less debt to worry about? Wouldn’t you like to have a conversation with your spouse about something other than bills?

If you think I am suggesting that bankruptcy might save your marriage, you’re absolutely right. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

Case Study

I’m reminded of a story that nearly brought me to tears. It happened several years ago. I was staying late to meet with a couple that had been married for over 40 years. When they came in, I could tell the husband was agitated and nervous. I knew he did not want to be in my office. The wife looked like she was on the verge of tears. Something was really bothering her, and I could tell it was reaching a boiling point.

The conversation started like they usually do. The husband had no idea how much debt they were in. The wife knew but was afraid to tell him. The husband said: “All I do is work and she takes care of the bills.” Whenever I hear this from one spouse, it tells me that they’ve put their head in the sand and do not want to know or help the other spouse with the family finances. My instant thought was: How has

this couple remained married for so long? The wife looked at me and said: “We are in $80,000 of credit card debt, and I can’t handle it anymore. The stress is killing me,” and (looking at her husband) said: “I was so afraid to tell you because I know how hard you work, and I didn’t want you to worry about how bad things were really getting.”

Each month, a little piece of her was dying because she was using cash advances to make minimum payments. The husband turned and looked at her for about 30 seconds, his entire demeanor changed, and his walls came crumbling down. He reached out and took her hand and said: “Honey, I am so sorry. I’ve been a terrible husband. I should’ve asked you if you needed help. I should’ve asked how you were paying for things. But I didn’t, and I feel terrible about it. I know you have been stressed for a long time, and I never asked you why. Can you please forgive me?” She began to cry, and he stood up to give her a very long hug.

At that point in time, I knew they needed to be alone, so I excused myself. Even if they had asked me to stay, I would’ve left the room because it was a very emotional moment. I knew that it was a turning point in their relationship. I knew she did not expect that type of response from him. I could see in her eyes that she instantly forgave him and fell in love with him all over again. It was debt that was tearing them apart, and it was bankruptcy that would bring them back together.

If your marriage is under stress because of overwhelming financial obligations, you are not alone. Please feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of the Dellutri Law Group, PA today. We can be reached at (800) 391-4337.