My story starts back in 2008, when I opened a letter from a Credit card firm, stating that I and my wife had defaulted on the card – and this was only the tip of the iceberg!!! All in all we owed somewhere in the region of 80k, and my wife had kept the debt from me and was fighting the fires herself as she did not want me to know – I was always happy to allow her to run our finances, which was the 2nd biggest mistake I ever made – but I was just as responsible, and had buried my head in the sand. At this point we decided to seek some advice from a Debt management company who informed us to go down the route of starting an IVA. I found out at this time the full extent of the debt, and some of which was actually in my name that I never knew anything about, she had been getting credit cards in my name to pay others off……………………..when I found this out it nearly broke us, as we argued constantly – and I found out later that the kids used to hear us, but never knew what it was all about. To this day my kids do not know what their Mum was doing, and I shall never tell them and it was not till a few years later I sat them all down and told them of the debt.
We started this in late 2008 and everything was fine – well as good as it could be, knowing your income and expenditure was now controlled by an outside agency for the next 5 years at least – you make the most of it. As time went on I took more of an interest in the finances, but was unaware that she started to miss payments on the IVA – and it ended up defaulting – so we were back to square one. This got too much and eventually we split up and I lived in the house with my 2 daughters (my son was living with his then partner). Then the letters started and the phone calls, threats of this and that which really got me down and there was nobody I felt I could turn to. After 18 months or so of stress and hiding away – I eventually shared the problem and took advice about my own personal debt, not my wife’s – and was told I would be responsible for any debt my name was attached to – even the cards my ex had fraudulently obtained in my name.
I have CCJ’s in my name, as does my ex-wife – and may I add at this point my ex-wife has never made any attempt to pay off her share of the debt – and as far as I am aware is still in debt!!!
In 2012 I was referred to a specialist company on line who put me in touch with an Insolvency Practitioner and I spoke with them, and they put my mind at ease and explained all clearly and precisely – what would be expected, what I would have to pay based on income and expenditure, extra payments of any windfalls, as in bonuses etc. They were so reassuring and I literally felt so much weight had been taken off my shoulders and when I put the phone down I felt so much relief.
I have had many telephone conversations with my IVA company over the last 5 years regarding my IVA, and they always had time to chat about all things IVA related - as they were my Insolvency Practitioners for the first 2 – 3 years of my IVA – until it was passed over to a new Company. They proved to be a reliable company, however I have had a few issues with them over the last 2 or so years they have handled my case, having to ask them to send me income and expenditure forms, always chasing them for information, yet I have paid the exact same amount to them over the last 2 years or so, as they have never asked for an increase.
At this point I sat my children down (ages 21, 23 and 28, not exactly kids) and told them of the debt and that I was determined to pay this off and take responsibility for my life and my actions and that if they ever had any money worries they should always try to speak to somebody about it, even me, and not dismiss and let the situation get worse like I did.
I think the biggest thing you can do when you get into debt, is take responsibility – and speak to some expert, you will be amazed how much it helps share the burden with people who deal with it every day – I never thought I would get to the end of this, but I am 1 month away and it has flown by.
Always remember you put yourself in the situation in the first place, nobody else is to blame – it won’t go away, so don’t do as I did and bury your head in the sand – grab the bull by the horns and make that call – you will be so happy you did