What can happen if spouse moved out of home and got a new place but can’t afford it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can happen if spouse moved out of home and got a new place but can’t afford it?

A husband moved out and left wife and child to deal with finacial debt that we already had before he left. He

immediately got a new place by borrowing the money to do so. He can’t make a steady income and couldn’t contribute much for the bills and now wife and child are left with the debt and struggles to catch back up on the bills. Can he do that?

Asked on January 20, 2019 under Family Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You will need to file for a divorce if you want the legal system to help; in the divorce filing, you can also seek "emergent" (think: urgent) relief in the form of a court order that he contribute to your expenses pending the outcome of the divorce case. The law can only get involved in a married couple's domestic and economic arrangements wheh a divorce case is filed. Ideally, you should retain a family law attorney to help, but you can do this on your own; you should be able to get some basic instructions and forms from the family court, either in person at the clerk's office and/or online from their website.
If overcome with debt, you may also wish to consider filing for bankruptcy. Again, if possible consult with an attorney (one familiar with bankruptcy law), but here is a link to a bankruptcy overview put out by the U.S. bankruptcy courts: https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics
Those are the legal answers. The practical answer is also that if you cannot afford where you live and your spouse's ability to help is suspect (if he can't make a steady income and can't contribute much), you need to look at moving someplace less expensive. The law can only help so much, if between the two of you, there is just not enough money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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