Monday, March 23, 2009

Does Divorce Ever End?

I took the big, bold step in 2004. I had a frightfully unfullfilling marriage and decided enough was enough. I contributed to the unfullfilling union too. I was no saint. But at some point, I realized this had not been working for a long time and I was tired of trying. For me, the decision was the best I ever made. When I made the decision, however, I was not prepared for all the detangling that must occur. We owned a house, we had a ridiculous amount of credit card debt, and my soon to be ex had not been working for 4 years. We lived in a delusional bubble where we always assumed his next job was just around the corner. Of course, as soon as I left him he had a job in 2 weeks.

Fast forward to today - 5 years later. He is once again unemployed and heading to bankruptcy court. Ok. He has to do what he has to do. Only one problem with this. His bankruptcy will shift ALL the joint debt to me. Oh crap! He will file chapter 7 to wipe his slate clean, because he has very limited income. But the creditors will not wipe out joint debt. They just go to the other person to collect. That would be me.

It seems that my only hope of avoiding a complete financial meltdown is to file chapter 13 bankruptcy first and hope I can save myself. The court will create a payment plan for 3-5 years and the creditors will have to live with whatever I give them. After that, the debt is gone. Of course, that means my disposable income will be cut to the bone. Oh joy!

I get calls from his creditors., who are really my creditors. They don't read divorce decrees. They find my address and send stuff to him at my house. It's like one of those flypaper jokes where you can't get the stuff off your fingers. Get out of my life already! I'm looking at bankruptcy - the gift that keeps on giving. I would love to get my old debt cleared away in such a way that I pay but get some relief. I need a bailout. But I don't like being forced into this because my ex can't manage his life. That's why I left. It's like being stuck in the gravitational pull of a planet you want to escape. Where is my hyperdrive?

Now that I look at the legal advice, the suggestion is to file bankruptcy before divorce and then you each get a fresh start. I was too deluded to even think that was an option then. Oh well.

So here I am in the prime of my 2nd life, facing bankruptcy. Not a pretty picture. But I have my head on straight and I just have to get through this. When it is over, I can finally celebrate my divorce.

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