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Ask Dave

Bipolar And In Trouble

Even though she's seeing a psychiatrist, Sammy's bipolar wife refuses to acknowledge that she has problems with credit card debt.

QUESTION: Sammy has paid off his house and is in the process of swapping land for a home. His wife, though, has about $20,000 in credit card debt and is bipolar, refusing to acknowledge it. She sees a psychiatrist but that’s it. Can Sammy get that debt switched to his name so he can handle it?

ANSWER: No, unless you have her declared mentally incompetent to the point that you have to take care of her. They can’t discuss her account with you; that violates her privacy and it’s illegal. The credit card debt is not her problem; it’s the result of her not addressing her bipolar problem. Part of taking care of bipolar is to face your life. She’s not facing life, and you are willing to help her, but she’s got her head stuck in the sand.

Her psychiatrist has some influence with her. Call him and say that she’s dealing with this issue, and you want to help her. You want to sit in on one of her sessions. Sit down with her when she’s having a good day with her psychiatrist and see how you can help.

We’ve worked with bipolar people for years, and they always have financial trouble. This may be the last closet in her bipolar house that she needs to clean out.