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Five Tips for Discussing Bankruptcy with Your Spouse

Deciding whether or not to file for bankruptcy is one of the toughest decisions you will ever make. Under the best circumstances, you will still have an option whether or not to do so – some people wait so long they are limited and the only way out of their financial situation is bankruptcy.

If you are married and intend to stay that way, you and your spouse will file for bankruptcy as a couple. Though it might be the best option for you financially, it can still be a tough topic of conversation, especially if one of you blames the other for your financial situation.

Before scheduling a meeting with a bankruptcy attorney, take some time to discuss your situation with your spouse. Even if one of you has already spoken to an attorney, it is important for you to know where the other stands before bringing a third party into the mix.

How can you plan for a discussion with your spouse about bankruptcy?

1. Set aside time when you will not be interrupted or distracted. If you are trying to discuss bankruptcy in the morning when kids are preparing for school, lunches are being made, breakfast cooked, and pets waiting to go outside things can spin out of control quickly. If possible, schedule a few hours when the two of you are alone and can focus on your financial situation.

2. Agree in advance not to argue. It is OK if you disagree at this point whether bankruptcy is the right option. If you have other options, you are already ahead of many people – you are considering bankruptcy before it is a necessity. The important thing is that you have a civil, respectful discussion about your options. Agree in advance there will be no yelling, no finger pointing, and no storming out of the room. If things begin to get heated, take a break for a few minutes.

3. Don’t blame one another for your situation. When you got married you agreed to be a team and even if one of you overspent or lost your job or was primarily responsible for your financial strain, you need to conquer it as a team. Blame will just make the situation worse.

4. Do not belittle one another. There is a tendency sometimes for spouses to feel as if they are justified in treating one another like children if a mistake is made. Have you ever heard or said something like “You screwed up, now I’ll take over and handle it!” This attitude doesn’t help anyone. There is no need to treat your spouse like a child and you should not be treated like a child by your spouse. The fact is people make mistakes at every age and an attitude like this only complicates the issue.

5. Be hopeful about your future. As dark as your situation might seem right now, it is important to realize it will pass. Take time to discuss how life will be once you get through this rough patch together. Ideally, your current financial struggles will strengthen your relationship.

Want to learn more about filing for bankruptcy as a married couple or are you ready to discuss your situation with an attorney? Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule a consultation and take your next step toward financial freedom.

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