My ex-husband and I found ourselves in a lot of debt since purchasing our first home, then our next home.  The second home was a mortgage that we basically couldn’t afford to repay but wanting what we wanted we went through with the purchase anyway.  The house needed a lot of work done to it which we knew we couldn’t afford.  We spend a lot of money on credit cards and personal loans to make the house beautiful.  Then when my daughter arrived we more or less lived on credit cards for quite a number of years trying to pay crèche, the mortgage and to basically survive.

Before we knew it the amount of money we owed was out of our control and we really struggled to repay every credit cards minimum amount each month. I knew we had to do something as we couldn’t continue to live like that.

In 2010 I confided with a friend in work about my debt and the stress it was having on my family.  My friend recommended I contact a debt help company, as she had previously done and found it very beneficial.  I was glad to feel I wasn’t alone anymore in this debt.

I contacted the company concerned who made me feel at ease straight away and showed me that there was a way out.  The staff there informed me of many options that were available to help me repay my debt and also advised of what they felt was the best path for me to take.

My case was taken on as a joint policy.  I stopped paying all debt straight away while someone assessed my case – I simply couldn’t afford the payments anymore and was told that other bills had priority. I had to provide all financial information including bank statements, credit card statements, loans, income and expenditure.  This was very embarrassing as I felt like I was exposing my life to complete strangers and felt humiliated that I had gotten myself into this position.  However the supervisor that took on my case would regularly reassure me that everything would turn out just fine in the end and that I wasn’t alone.  I think exposing my financial situation was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done but looking back now it was the best decision I have ever made.

When the IVA was getting set up I was very nervous and had to explain to my family what I was doing.  My family were shocked at the financial mess I was actually in but were also glad that I was trying to resolve it and fix it.  It was very easy to set up the IVA as all I had to do was provide the paperwork and someone else did the rest.  The hardest challenge I did find was that my husband at the time wasn’t so forth coming with his paperwork for the joint IVA.  He didn’t want me knowing the extent of his debt as he had kept a lot of it hidden from me. 

It was nerve wrecking and very stressful once the case was ready and the proposal was put to the Insolvency Company.  The waiting to find out was very intense as I knew if accepted this could change our lives.

Once the IVA was accepted I jumped for joy as I knew our lives would change dramatically as the repayments were very manageable compared with what we were paying out before each month to our creditors.  The IVA enabled us to start living again and a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. 

The budget was set and financially we were able to take control again.  The budget was very well planned out with the help of various people along the way and advice on how to stick to it which we did very well whilst still enjoying life.

The IVA was set for 6 years and would have finished in Feb 2018.  However due to reasons myself and my ex-husband spilt in July 2015 and he has left me to pay the IVA on my own.  I also sold my family home with a lot of negative equity as my ex-husband refused to pay his share of the mortgage also.  As a result of this I was able to go back to Insolvency Company who reassessed my case and allowed the negative equity of the house to be included in my IVA.  They also reassessed the repayments and reduced the monthly repayments to what I can afford as a single working mother.  As a result of this the IVA has been extended for 1 more additional year which I can manage perfectly fine on my own.

I think the IVA is the best decision I have ever made and I feel that it saved my life as I can afford to rent a home for me and my daughter whilst still being able to have days out and treat my daughter.  It has made me a strong independent woman who stands on my own two feet.

My only regret about the IVA is that it was a joint policy and no matter that my ex-husband is not paying his half I am technically still responsible for his non-payment.  However the Insolvency Company have stated that once I reach my completion date all debts in my name are officially clear and my ex may still have to sort out his debts or debts that were in joint names.

I would recommend to anyone who is suffering in silence financially to speak with someone who can provide professional advice and assistance as there is a way out.