View Full Version : where to start, helping ill friend

Zoe Girl
9-19-11, 11:54pm
Hi all, I have a BFF who has about the hardest life of anyone I know. I can;t do anything about her cancer and I can't do anything about her severly autistic son, however I think I can support her in some ways.

The major issues are that she does not have child support established officially (bad divorce), she does not have any assistance for her son because they need to see child support amounts to do that, and she has huge debts that were assigned to her ex husband 10 years ago but he has never paid.

So the first step I had her take at least 6 months ago was to keep a record of what child support she does get on a small calendar since he gives it in cash. I hope that may count for the assistance she needs, if nothing else getting help paying for daycare that has to be a special person and costs a lot.

It seems the next best step would be bankruptcy. She doesn't know how much debt is out there in her name but recently had a sherif try to serve her. Can this be done very cheap and how does she find out what is in her name so she can clear it off? i am pretty sure since her name was on credit cards and any medical bills for kids are under her name since she is the sole guardian there is no way to go after him even though the divorce paperwork says he was responsible.

Also does anyone know if she can get a checking account if she does a bankruptcy? I am sure there are lawyers with free consultations and internet sources as well. Meanwhile this is not the correct place but if you are a praying person i would keep her in mind.

9-20-11, 7:54am
Yuck on BFF's situation and thanks to you for helping her as you can. I'll leave it to others who know more of the US's way of dealing with bankruptcy for input.

9-20-11, 8:24am
:( So sorry for your friend. I have nothing to offer, either.

iris lily
9-20-11, 8:35am
About a checking account: Something in the back of my mind makes me think that an employee credit union would be easier for your friend to use in opening an account. Her place of work may well have a relationship with a credit union.

9-20-11, 10:15am
There are certain banks that are "second chance" banks for people with such troubles. The one I know of is Southern Commerce bank, inside WalMarts. I've heard that Wells Fargo is also a second chance bank. I should think banks would care less about bankruptcy than they would about a history of writing bad checks.

9-20-11, 10:19am
Step one is to pull all three of her credit reports, without falling for any sneaky paid services like freecreditreport dot com. Here is a legit site: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
Medical bills often aren't report to the credit reporting agencies. for that she'd have to gather her bills and maybe ask providers for statements.

domestic goddess
9-20-11, 11:00am
Wow! She is really having a rough time, and is lucky to have a good friend who is willing to help. It can't be easy to summon up the energy to straighten this mess out when you are fighting cancer, too. I can't imagine it.
Won't her state go after the deadbeat dad/ex-husband for the child support? They do here in Illinois. It can take awhile, but it is better than getting nothing, or the scraps he may give her from time to time.
If I were her, I don't think I'd worry about what bills "might" be out there with my name on them. She needs to organize the bills she knows about and work out a plan to pay something on them or put them all together to take to a bankruptcy lawyer. If her ex opened accounts in her name, it may be possible to prove fraud, but these people are pretty wily. My aunt got taken by a man she jumped into a marriage with after her husband filed for his "mid-life divorce". I guess some people have a mid-life crisis, and some people make them for others.
Do encourage your friend to take care of herself, as much as it may be possible. It is hard to look at the future when the present is such a mess that it consumes all your energy, but make sure that she at least puts a little something back for herself. My aunt is still working as a nanny at the age of 70, because she doesn't have any other funds except social security, and that isn't enough to have any kind of life on. She spent all her money paying off second husband's debts that he ran up in her name, and now can't stop working. If nothing else, encourage your friend to get some competent legal advice, appropriate to where she lives. She may find out that things don't have to be so grim.

9-20-11, 12:50pm
Sometimes the bar association for your state has lists of attorneys who have donated some pro bono time to help.

But Zoe, you can give the resources to her but please dont overwhelm your current situation with trying to do things for her. She will be more likely to follow thru if she takes those steps herself. She needs current legal info for her state from a competent individual.

9-20-11, 1:41pm
But Zoe, you can give the resources to her but please dont overwhelm your current situation with trying to do things for her. She will be more likely to follow thru if she takes those steps herself. She needs current legal info for her state from a competent individual.

ZG, that was my first thought. You've got plenty on your plate, just with your kids, let alone handling a situation for an ill friend. It's kind and sweet of you to want to help, but your best choice is just point her to some resources and let it go. You've got enough on your OWN plate!