Ask A Lawyer: Do I Pay Off “Our” Debt Or Divorce First?


My wife wants the divorce and I do not although it certainly has not been a picnic living with her anymore. We have three boys, ages nine to fourteen. Financially, we are very strapped for cash (near bankruptcy) since she has run us into debt with a home remodeling that went 100% over budget. I am the only worker in the household, and she has been a stay-at-home mom for the last sixteen years.

I realize that I am going to be royally screwed in this divorce since she has been in charge of our finances for all these years. I am going to be saddled with “our” debts in addition to child support. Is it better for me to divorce quickly or to work and pay off the debts before officially splitting? Do I use my 401K money to pare down the debt or am I hurting myself even more?



These questions need to be directed to a locally licensed attorney, a bankruptcy attorney, and maybe even a credit counselor.  It is not impossible that the court won’t order her to get a job and start paying on the debt, and to start supporting the children financially also.


Erik H. Carter is a Senior Attorney of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as the Litigation Manager of both the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh offices. Mr. Carter has practiced since 1993 as an attorney. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania as well as the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.

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