2/21/2011 11:31 AM ET|
Marrying Mr. Debt? Prepare to pay
Prior debts may not fall on you, but those issues aren't the real problem. The big issue is sharing your life with someone who wildly mismanages money.
Question: My fiancé and I are planning to get married later this year. I don't have any financial issues. However, he owes about $7,000 in back taxes (not including what he is going to owe when he files this year), has a foreclosure on his record (he still owes $85,000 on that) and owes $3,000 on a vehicle repossession, which I believe has gone into collections at this point. We also just found out that he has a $55,000 tax lien against him from his foreclosure. All of this occurred before we met. He is planning on filing for bankruptcy, but I don't believe that will do anything about the tax problems.
My question is: Will this affect me in any way? We live in California. I have heard about this communal property thing. We don't have any combined accounts, but we would like to get a joint bank account. Will that open my money up to garnishment if things go bad? Also, I plan on buying a house with my sister in the near future. If I do this after we get married, but don't include him on the loan or deed, will I be affected by his past issues when trying to buy a home?
Answer: You didn't ask if you should marry a man in much worse financial shape than yourself. But that unasked question is central to this dilemma. Here's why:
Marrying someone with more than $150,000 in back taxes, liens and other bad debts will affect you. Having so many debts in bad standing, especially with more apparently popping up all the time, is a very bad sign. He may be the sweetest guy you have ever met, but his financial life is a mess. He needs to realize that he must clean it up before he marries you. Otherwise, he's just dragging you into his financial disaster.
That doesn't mean his debts from before the marriage will automatically become yours. They won't. But if he has run up this many debts in the past few years, how will he keep from adding to them after you are married? From then on, in the state of California and other community property states, creditors will be able to pursue you for his debts.
Furthermore, as a married couple, you should be deciding on financial goals together and working toward them. How will he contribute to these goals? He's working from a disadvantage here, and he is going to feel that acutely. No two people getting married are on exactly equal footing, but it's better if they are a little closer to it than you two are.
Many times a woman thinks she can help a man get on his feet (or vice versa). But it changes the dynamics of a relationship if one partner is as needy as your fiancé seems to be. Sad experience has taught many people that it's easy for their marriage to start feeling less like a partnership and more like a parent-child relationship. And it's the spouse who feels inadequate who often starts to feel disgruntled or insecure in the marriage.
I hope you wait at least a year, if not two, before you get married. Give him a chance to clean up his credit score and his back taxes and other debts on his own. If he's determined to file for bankruptcy, he should get that out of the way before you get married. (One spouse can file for bankruptcy alone, but it can get messy.)
If he gets his financial affairs in relative order and you get married, hold off on getting credit cards, bank accounts or other accounts with him until he has a clean record for several years. Otherwise, if more creditors pop up and you have a joint account, you could very well find your wages garnished by creditors after they are commingled with his.
Now, about buying a house with your sister: Buying real estate with someone other than your spouse doesn't always end well. One party's situation can change quickly, and then what? If the only way you can buy a house now is with your sister, and you are sure you want to do that, then at least go to a lawyer and make certain you're both covered no matter what happens.
If you buy a house -- with or without your sister -- the credit history and score of your fiancé (or your husband by that point) shouldn't be taken into consideration as long as you don't include him on the loan.
Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and the author of "Help! I Can't Pay My Bills: Surviving a Financial Crisis."
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I would never marry someone with that much debt. It shows irresponsibility. If they dont care about thier own finances, they sure as heck won't/can't care about yours.
I dont care how nice the person is or treats you, its NEVER worth the trouble. I would give him more than 2 years...I wouldn't say "I do" until ALL of his bills were cleaned up, his credit score got better and he proved to me that he can keep it that way and not fall into comfort of being married and having two incomes to bail him out.
That would say that you are serious about HIS mess...and you wont take any crap!
Money is one of the main causes of divorce!
Run don't walk.
I married a man I was unaware had debt beyond what he was telling. He said he had $8,000 debt he was paying off. and he had his kids who lived with him. I had debt from medical bills as a single mom with an asthmatic child that I was paying, so I thought I could understand how it could happen. But, I was paying. I thought we should wait to marry, but his "we could both pay off faster with one household" made sense as to why we shouldn't.
Debt can sometimes be a sign of much bigger issue. He had untreated bipolar disease. He could be utterly charming, but I later learned how out of control he could be as well. 3 months after we married I discovered he and his first wife had declared bankruptchy and he had been paying it off with $8,000 left to pay. However he stopped paying. I found out when we received a Mr and Mrs letter about "our" bankruptcy dismissal stating we were now on the line for the entire amount from before his bankruptcy negotiations - $65,000 in credit cards! I hadn't even known there was a bankruptcy! There were also tax liens from a consulting busiiness that tanked, claiming 10 instead of 4/5, and a $127,00 house with no equity after 12 years of paying into it because of the constant remortgages. How does a man making $150,000 a year run up so much debt? By buying his 3 children and himself ipod videos because school is out (even though they were failing), by buying a 15 year old who can't even drive a used car at 21% interest and having it redone, upfrading phones everyt ime a cool new one came out; quitting jobs and taking ones with half the pay at the drop of a hat, then deciding the new boss doesn't like him. By stupid steps of spending constantly without trying to pay back. Apparently there had been another bankruptcy years before when they had first married in another state. This was a habit; a lifetime habit and an air of irresponsibility that trickled into an issue of someone else will cover it. Always some one else's fault, someone else' s responsibility.. That is the mentality that has our country in so much trouble today.
Bankruptcy is only a way out when you are in over your head due to circumstances beyond your control. Constantly spending is not beyond your control. I know . I paid off my original debt. I drive a 14 year old car and am paying off my own newer debt from moving, divorcing, and starting over.
People with these type issues usually have much deeper seated issues that are shown by this incredible level of irresponsibility. They could be mental diseases like bi-polar was in ours. However without willing to get help, it is a downhill battle. My ex committed suicide after he lost/quit his 6th job in 4 years; a year after we divorced. He was about to lose his house and couldn't imagine being without. His insurance paid his first wife upon suicide. (we divorced after 2 years of more accidental discoveries and more than I could handle.) What a horrible waste of a life. Don;t ever accept someone who can't handle their own responsibilities.
She may not be responsible for the debt, but she’ll most assuredly be harassed by bill collectors for years to come. They may even sue her even though they know she isn’t responsible because they’ll hope she doesn’t appear in court and they’ll get a default judgment against her.
She needs to run away and not look back.
Here is a true example of the saying "love is blind". This woman is asking for a lifetime of grief. Unfortunately she probably won't listen to anyone but this guy, so most of what's said here will be a waste of breath. If a person can't meet the most basic of obligations as paying income taxes ( it appears this is still continuing) what makes her believe he can provide the things necessary for a successful marriage???
Mostly good advise here. Makes no difference male or female, a user loser is a user loser looking for someone to enable he/she to carry on juuust a little longer.
You are better off alone than with one of these pukes. They will use and discard you like trash.
They will never change as long as they can keep sucking in another fool.
Lady DO NOT marry this man. The ONLY reason he wants to get married is so u can support himm and pay off his debt. STOP living in a dream world. Deep down inside u know this that's y ur writing this asking what u shld do u know what u shld do leave him. Of course he's funny and charming and nice he has to be to get u to marry him and get ur money.
How well wld it work if he came straight out and said the truth " look I have alot of debt and I don't like working I wish I cld find someone to support me so by the way u wanna get married?" Surprisingly some people r so desperate and lonely I bet some women wld still marry him.
If u insist on marrying this charming bum insist that he sign a pre-nup and do not get a joint bank acct under any circumstances. I bet he won't want to get married then he might say if u loved me u wldn't ask me to do this. Tell him if u love me u shld't have a problem signing this. U probably don't even love him ur just in love with being inn love.
I couldn't agree more Alan Morgan (Lexx)!
Isn't it said by respected economists that women make upwards of 80% of household purchases/ decisions? And that the new/ emerging economy is going to favor women and places to invest are in purveyors of women's apparel etc...?
The article is likely good advice to both men AND women but the gender bias of the author's headline told me to 'skip it.' There isn't enough male-bashing going on in this world/ country.
Whether the headline is intentionally sexist or 'merely' an oversight, it doesn't matter. It illustrates an all too oft accepted mentality of 'demonizing' only men. Look at so much advertising: The black or 'goofy' hat is 99% worn by the male whereas the 'victim/ put upon' white hat is worn by the female. Look for it, you'll see it.
Take a look some time at men's and father's rights groups seeking equity and you'll see 'inclusion' of the female in the equation of equal representation and participation in marriage/ child rearing/ visitation etc...And whereas too many female (feminist) authored articles vilify the men/ boys (sometimes subtly and sometimes explicitly).
There are lots of women (single/ married) making lots of money and often more than their boyfriends/ husbands. Won't be long in the emerging 'Pink-collared' economy where women will start paying alimony and child support to the hard-hit men of the once male-dominated economic powers that be...err...were.
Check your facts before you begin spouting your comments. When I hear someone use the term "deadbeat" in a context that tries to include those that are victims of an overzealous system to remove their children from them and then call them names, it shows the intelligence level of the person laying the claim.
Don't be fooled by a media and political firestorm of ridiculous claims aimed at fathers who have been "worked" in the system. If you care to review the numbers, there is a higher PERCENTAGE of deadbeat moms then there are deadbeat dads. When women are put in the same situation, they fail even more often than men. Should the system then be reversed to give custody to the father and see what happens to your supposed dynamic? Right, that would just be unconstitutional to take children away from their mother...even if she is one of the 70% of divorces that are requested by women.
You arrogantly put this out there as if it is fact, whereas in reality, of all the dads who have been removed from their families and given a debt they can't possibly pay, only 4% of those who are not paying can actually afford to pay. So the other 96% of "deadbeat" dads as you call them have been sabotaged by a system that is apparently determined to wipe them out and call them names. The deadbeat moms...even though there is a higher percentage...removed from the negative hype and name calling. I'm not surprised you are in the ranks.
So it really depends on what you call freeloading mooch men/women now doesn't it. If a man stays at home and his wife works, guess he's a mooch man. If a woman stays at home and the husband works, she is a dedicated wife and victim of a male-dominated society.
Bottom line, regardless of gender, don't marry anyone with more debt than yourself, regardless of gender, and never pay off "their" debts as a show of your devotion. NEVER allow anyone you marry to stay at home while you work. They system then believes because he or she is used to it, the working spouse now needs to continue to supply it past the marriage...no matter who wanted out.
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