Together Again ... Sort Of

Between divorce and being an alcoholic, Devin and her husband have had a rough past. Now money is in the mix.

QUESTION: Devin and her husband are technically divorced, but have reconciled and are living together. They have debt together and individually. They don’t know how to do a budget since they are not together and not married. She is a recovering alcoholic, and a lot of the debt is her doing. She has $60,000 in debt to her name, and $35,000 of that is old, bad debt. Their debt together is $25,000 more, and she owes $18,000.

ANSWER: There’s a lot of stuff flying around here, from your sobriety to old debt and so on. I don’t want to interfere into that. In general, married couples need to have “our” debt. If we’re going to be together, I accept all your assets and liabilities. You get the good and the bad. That goes with your debt and this problem. He needs to be willing to accept your debt and forgive your past and move forward in the future. If he’s not willing to do that, you need to decide if you’re willing to be married.

If you won’t be reconciled, you’ve got your debt and he’s got his debt. That makes budgeting difficult, and you need to do things separately. Meet with some good marriage counselors. At some point, the combining of our lives is necessary with the only exception being your 12-step people walking you through restitution.