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Overwhelming medical debt and marriage

It’s a question many New Jersey couples may have to deal with. One person has huge medical bills that remain unpaid, yet they would like to get married. Should marriage be postponed until the debt is paid off or should the spouse commit himself or herself to helping pay off the bills?

It’s best to pay off large debts, such as medical debts, before taking the marriage vow. If a couple decides to go through with marriage, however, the spouse’s large debt won’t have an effect on the other spouse’s credit rating. If the spouse decides on filing for bankruptcy, this may have an effect on the couple’s ability to make large purchases together in the future.

Filing for bankruptcy as a solution may not be justifiable if the debt is only $20,000 or less. There may be other ways to pursue paying off a medical debt, such as checking the statute of limitations for old and unsecured debt, discussing basic financial information with the medical provider in hopes of being put on an affordable payment plan, trying to settle for a lower bill or getting advice from a reputable credit counselor.

When unexpected medical conditions cause overwhelming medical debt, especially if the individual does not have insurance, they may want to discuss their situation with a bankruptcy lawyer before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if bankruptcy appears to be the only way out, an attorney may be able to give advice regarding which strategies may help them start fresh and move towards their goals of financial freedom.

Source: FOX, “Resolve Medical Debt Before Marriage“, Sally Herigsta, December 03, 2013

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