I get these kind of cases all of the time.
The husband and wife are separated and bad financial problems have obviously created a strain on their 28 year-old marriage. The children couldn't save the marriage.
"I wish we had come to you years ago." they said. But they didn't. How would things have been different?
They live in northwest PA and own a house with a value of about $130,000. Their mortgage balance totals most, if not all of that, much of it used to fix the house up. They have two kids, both older but still in the house. The husband has a job that doesn't pay a lot, and the wife is self-employed. They have two vehicles that are paid for and the debt is pretty typical, credit cards and medical bills.
But raising two kids, especially older kids, can get expensive. And they were always only one major repair on the house or the car from having to use credit, so they did use it.
So if they had come to me earlier, how would things have been different? There are at least two possibilities here:
1. I would have seen something in the direction that they were headed that would have indicated that continuing along their current path was unsustainable. They then might have able to take action to reorganize their debt situation and avoid a straight bankruptcy. Relieving the pressure may have had a positive effect on their marriage, but that is impossible to say for certain;
2. It is possible that a bankruptcy would have been the right choice at that time. This could have also relieved much of the strain on their lives and kept them together. Also, since this would have occurred a few years ago, their credit would most likely have been restored by now, to be used mostly, if not exclusively, for emergencies.
Can we save your marriage if you come to us sooner rather than later? By no means would I make that claim. But I will say that the financial advice that we give you at Steidl and Steinberg could help take some of the pressure away and if so, that is always a good thing.
And the consultation is free.