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Old 11-26-2010, 01:49 PM   #421
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Thanks for the update. I do hunt down this thread periodically to see if there is anything new.

I don't know much about bankruptcy and not much more about gambling addicts, but let's say there is a high statistical chance of her gambling away the family's financial stability again after declaring bankruptcy and getting the money situation back in order. From what I've heard, you can't declare bankruptcy again within 10 or so years, so credit card companies in particular will grant credit again knowing they can rack up interest for years until the next bankruptcy filing. In other words, if the root cause isn't cured then bankruptcy doesn't help for long, and since it can't be refiled in short order you're kind of trapped with any new debt incurred.

Bad scenario: She isn't gambling now because there's no money. Declare bankruptcy, get settlements in order, now you (er, he) have some money. She starts gambling again.

And I'm pretty sure bankruptcy doesn't much affect illegal gambling debt, and she's obviously gambling either with idiots or sharks, because those are the only types that would let you bet I.O.U.s. I doubt idiots would last long enough in the games to cause her great losses.

Now I'll venture from the-realm-of things-I've-casually-heard-about into pulling-things-out-of-my-behind: It seems like it would be a good idea to separate the finances in a way that the husband's and kids' money to pay bills and buy food are kept somewhere she can't legally or successfully access, and make it so she can't open joint credit or any credit that affects the husband's or kids' credit ratings. Naturally I have no idea how to do that and not sure it can be done without divorce.
I think is some states it can be done with legal separation, but who knows how well it might stand up if she were to mount a challenge.

Ha
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:55 PM   #422
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... and she's obviously gambling either with idiots or sharks, because those are the only types that would let you bet I.O.U.s. I doubt idiots would last long enough in the games to cause her great losses.
Not if these are not simple idiots, but murderous brutish thuggish violent idiots.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:15 PM   #423
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Bad scenario: She isn't gambling now because there's no money. Declare bankruptcy, get settlements in order, now you (er, he) have some money. She starts gambling again.
I have gone over that with BIL. Hence the two pronged problem - stopping the gambling and then rebuilding the finances.

BIL is trying to get his wife to understand that you can always stop and start from scratch (or some version of it) and get back your family, your dignity and your future.

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And I'm pretty sure bankruptcy doesn't much affect illegal gambling debt, and she's obviously gambling either with idiots or sharks, because those are the only types that would let you bet I.O.U.s. I doubt idiots would last long enough in the games to cause her great losses.
Well, bankruptcy does discharge all debts generally. But yes, I don't think her fellow gambler creditors will respect the judgment of a US Bankruptcy judge much. The good news is that I think most or all of her creditors are of the simple idiot type and not the knee-breaking type. Reneging on the debt to these folks will just get her socially ostracized and will prevent her from being able to gamble any more with them. Which is a great thing.

I don't know the current amounts owed anymore or to whom exactly, but BIL mentioned $30k as being what she owed. I'm assuming that is owed only to various gambling counterparties. That is on top of a few ten thousand in CC debt, and probably $15000+ she owes to non-gambling family.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:20 PM   #424
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I don't know the current amounts owed anymore or to whom exactly, but BIL mentioned $30k as being what she owed. I'm assuming that is owed only to various gambling counterparties. That is on top of a few ten thousand in CC debt, and probably $15000+ she owes to non-gambling family.
So maybe $50,000 total debt, this perhaps underestimated too. I assume that you know this is hopeless, but keep up with it for the entertainment value? It is probably hopeless even if she were to change overnight, get a straight job and start saving.

Ha
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:29 PM   #425
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I assume that you know this is hopeless, but keep up with it for the entertainment value? It is probably hopeless even if she were to change overnight, get a straight job and start saving.
It's his SiL, so he kind of has to maintain hope. From a distance we can see bleak odds, but when it's in the family somebody has to maintain a path to hope.

People rarely change, but some do, and they're probably worth all the effort as long as the helpers protect their own interests.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:32 PM   #426
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So maybe $50,000 total debt, this perhaps underestimated too. I assume that you know this is hopeless, but keep up with it for the entertainment value? It is probably hopeless even if she were to change overnight, get a straight job and start saving.
Guessing about the unknown/undisclosed, I would estimate:
$30-40k gambling debt
$30k CC or other unsecured debt
$20k owed to various family/friends

$80-90k total. I imagine a bankruptcy would wipe a couple of these clean and cram down on the other creditors for the rest under a Chapter 13. The house and new car payment could be serviced as well most likely if BIL and SIL were committed to the plan.

But that only addresses the financial aspects, not the ongoing gambling problem.

Not quite hopeless yet (from a financial standpoint), but very very ugly in the best case scenario.

I guess my ongoing involvement is part entertainment, part emotional for BIL's and his kids' sake. Partly helping him with as smooth a crash landing as possible.

At the end of the day, BIL is a good guy. I'm as close to him as I am to my own brother, and I see more of his kids than I do my nieces and nephews on my side of the family.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:39 PM   #427
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It's his SiL, so he kind of has to maintain hope. From a distance we can see bleak odds, but when it's in the family somebody has to maintain a path to hope.

People rarely change, but some do, and they're probably worth all the effort as long as the helpers protect their own interests.
I'm not too optimistic about the outcome at this point. Honestly I'm a little surprised that they are still living together and they still have 2 cars and a house. It has been 7 months since I started this thread. Curious to see if things improve or get much worse by the one year mark.

It is interesting in a way, because this issue is like the 800 pound gorilla in the room at times. At family gatherings, nobody really talks about it, but we all know about it. I know this issue is eating SIL alive on the inside, but she keeps up the best Stepford Wives appearance outwardly.

BIL says it is really dragging on the family. 20 debtor calls a day from CC's and other debt. Gambling debtors constantly trying to get their money back. They don't answer the phone any more at the house.
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:12 PM   #428
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That is a truly grim situation. I am surprised SIL has not suggested that they get all the money they can get their hands on and go to the nearest legal crap table. If they lose head to straight to bankruptcy court...
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:18 PM   #429
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That is a truly grime situation.
Yep, it doesn't get much dirtier.
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:55 PM   #430
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Yep, it doesn't get much dirtier.
This thread has been soiled by your humor.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:06 PM   #431
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According to compulsive gamblers, that is people who know, gambling is an addiction. I don't pretend to understand, but it is. Why else would people who know better, mess up so badly?
Other people in your BILs situation can get locked into co-dependent acts that are intended to help, but make the problems worse. There are some that have walked the road that your brother is on. They can offer some real help.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:41 AM   #432
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Thanks for keeping the updates coming, it's fascinating.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:48 AM   #433
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Gee, Fuego. Not much you can do but offer a shoulder for BIL and the kids and hope for the best. Like, Ha, I think it is going to get much worse before he gets free of her.
I think that you might be riding in the same car as me on the "family is crazy" train. Sorry about that.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:02 PM   #434
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Gee, Fuego. Not much you can do but offer a shoulder for BIL and the kids and hope for the best. Like, Ha, I think it is going to get much worse before he gets free of her.
I think that you might be riding in the same car as me on the "family is crazy" train. Sorry about that.
Family is Crazy. Yes.

I'm just trying to be there for BIL and his kids. He has taken over the family finances for now, and is really in a tough situation because there is a sea of debt, and they are drowning in it. He already knows it will be years before things will be back to normal in any respect (financially). I am the go-to guy for legal/finance stuff, so I'm glad to be there for him.

DW and I just updated the wills over lunch to excise SIL from child caretaker responsibilities. That is a burden lifted. She was never designated the trustee of our funds, but at least now she won't be the custodian of our kids either.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:27 PM   #435
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Good for you, Fuego. I am in process of updating our wills to change our executor to my BIL who will also oversee funds for our heirs (his and my sis' kids as well as lazy bro). He's a great guy, like yours.
We are the designated caretakers of their kids if they die, though, so I pray daily for their continued health--can you see us with 3 kids suddenly dropped on us out of the blue? Yikes!
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:28 PM   #436
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We are the designated caretakers of their kids if they die, though, so I pray daily for their continued health--can you see us with 3 kids suddenly dropped on us out of the blue? Yikes!
It's not that bad. Just keep the toilet lids open and leave plenty of food out and they will be ok.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:09 PM   #437
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Update:

SIL threw herself a birthday party this weekend at her own house. At first just family showed up. Then a friend showed up with a bunch of carpets, rugs, etc. Then another 20-30 people showed up, ready for some friendly cutthroat gaming.

Eventually somebody busted out the cards and they started going at the gambling. There were a few WTF comments from family. Some directed at SIL. SIL sat down and gambled a little, receiving some money from her "friend" that she owes $$$$ to.

Needless to say, there were some pissed off people at this point. My other SIL quipped to DW and I that "wow, if she knew this is where the money was going, she never would have slipped a $20 into the birthday card". Being a holder of a crystal ball, I had preemptively told DW not to worry about any birthday cash because you know where it would go.

SIL played for a while, and eventually got up and went elsewhere.

About this time, I said "gee, I bet those roads are going to be getting more and more slick with all that snow, time to head home, huh?" and DW and I and some others got up and left. On the way home, DW told me she was about 10 seconds away from blowing up and making a scene and calling out her sister in front of everyone right before her sister walked away from the gambling area.

I guess SIL's month long hiatus from gambling is now officially over. From her perspective, I'm sure "it was just a little fun, no harm in that".
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:36 PM   #438
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sigh...that sucks. Makes me glad I don't have that kind of monkey on my back, or those kind of "friends". Sorry, Fuego. Glad you saved the b-day money--and hey, if you want to tuck a little something, something in a birthday card....my 40th is coming up in 15 days!
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:01 PM   #439
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Wow.

That scenario is almost a challenge by your SIL to her family, Fuego--right out in the open, in your face, and she's saying, "if you don't like it, too bad."
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:05 PM   #440
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Wow.

That scenario is almost a challenge by your SIL to her family, Fuego--right out in the open, in your face, and she's saying, "if you don't like it, too bad."
I am a little surprised that nothing went down. Surprised that SIL's husband or father didn't run out and start yelling at everyone to get the **** out. We pretty much left out of disgust. I guess we have to establish ground rules before we go to her house for parties. DW usually asks - "are there going to be a bunch of people at this gathering or is it just close family" - and we don't go if it is the lots of people/gambling type of event.

Yes, I think this was an open challenge to the rest of the family. A way of saying "I'm a big independent girl and I can do whatever I want".
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