Hi I am new, and am hoping maybe someone can give me some advice. This is confusing! I will try to make it as easy to follow as I can!

Ok, first of all, I am a lesbian in a committed relationship living in Ohio. This means we have a double income that is not recognized by many banks or by the government (ie on tax forms). It also means that when we bought our house, we were NOT allowed to buy it together, as Ohio does not let unmarried couples own property together. We could have gotten the loan together but A) her credit was poor due to delinquent medical bills and B) why put your name on a note for property that you cannot own? Bad idea.

Ok, when we were starting out, due to the aformentioned medical problems, she was in and out of work and we did a lot of living on credit cards. Long story short, we are paying for that now. Currently, We both have very good, secure jobs, but her’s has placed her 2 and a half hours in another STATE, meaning she has to maintain a seperate household during the week. We were involved in a serious car accident in September of 06 which required her to have surgery in September, puting her out of work for another 2 months. She has been back full force though since then.

Ok, are you still with me? On to the debt part: We have a house, a home equity loan, a student loan, a car payment, and credit cards, over 40k. Becasue of the nature of the relationship and the way we have to do things financially, everything except the car is in my name. The checking and savings accounts are in my name also and her pay check is direct deposited into my account. I pay all the bills.

When she was transfered to her new job, they gave her 5,000. We paid all of her rent etc from that. As of last month, it’s gone. So, today, here is the situation. Everything is current. But when I went to get a new car loan, after our accident, for the first time in my life, I was not approved. They said my score was fine, but my debt to income was too high because her income didn’t count, even when I listed her as a “renter”. Also, my CC interest rates have leaped to 30% even though I have never missed a payment or been late. I called and they refuse to lower them. Why? They pulled my credit report. Score fine. Debt to income too high! This jump in interest has put the minimum up past what we can pay on them.

I don’t know what to do. We are facing the real possiblity of not being able to pay these bills. I don’t understand why these CC compaines will not work with me when I have never been late or missed a payment. I can’t ask my partner to quit her job and come home. Then we are REALLY screwed. The amount we would save in her rent would not compensate for her loss of income.

Should I consider bankrupcy? I don’t know if I can, becasue my income is slightly higher than what I have read is the allowed income. On the other hand, I feel like for once, the fact that this state won’t cut my relationship a break would work for us, as my partners income can’t be touched. Can it? She has no legal tie to me. We have no savings to speak of. My other option is the credit counseling, I suppose, but unless they use my partners income, there is no way to manage any of the debt on my income alone.

The final kicker to all of this is that there is a lawyer involved on our behalf as a result of the car accident we were involved in and there is a real possiblity that we may get a significant settlement. However, I am not the type to count on $$ that does not exist. BUt part of me feels like I should just try to hang on until that case is settled once and for all, because if we do get a settlement, we can pay all this off and be done with it. I just don’t know if it is possible. I am already no knowing how I am going to pay the minimum on my cards this month. I’ve never missed a payment.

I am sorry this is so long. I hope it wan’t too confusing. I just feel so stuck and trapped. I don’t want to ruin my credit completely, but I feel like it already is ruined anyway. I want to be responsible, but I don’t feel I deserve a 30% interest rate and I can’t manage the payments with that rate. I really don’t know what to do. By this time next month, I will be behind on the cards. So I need to make a decision. I will NOT let my house, home equity, student loan or car get behind.

Thank for listening and in advance for any advice!

P. S. Oh, and one more thing (as if all that wasn’t enough!) IF and it’s a big IF, this settlement comes through, it is my partners, not mine. So it is my assumption that it would be therefore protected from the bankrupcy if I were to go that route.