Question: Husband bouncing checks/ job hours cut

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Question: Husband bouncing checks/ job hours cut
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 10:53pm

Hello All!

I posted on here about a year ago, and thank you so much for the responses!

I will try to make this a QUICK 'what would you do' question

Short Background

married 5 years, all pretty good except frequent stress as we are opposites about money.  Meaning, DH is the youngest in his family, never saved money, happy with blue collar jobs (which is fine!), doesn't care to plan for retirement, spends as he goes.

Me: oldest in family, career-oriented, I've made it a point to have a 401k, equity in my house, paid off my car, have good job

Dilemma:  About once a year DH runs out of money -- usually he'll not pay me for his 40% of the bills and I can handle it.  Once he forged one of my checks (he forged my name, and his reason was he was low on money) and that sent us to a marriage counselor.   He does a lot of housework and I appreciate it.    PROBLEM: His old company dissolved and the ONLY job he's been able to find is 16 hours a week.  He does look each day on line, but has recently run out of money - he is behind on child support to his ex, behind on his car pmt, and has bounced checks to me by accident.....he owes me $800 that he'd usually pay me toward our mortage/water bill/groceries...............THIS TIME around I am low in my savings account.  I feel bad he is only working 16 hours a week, but to be honest, he had years to save a little here and there and never does

I finally said to DH "I am out the $800 you'd usually pay toward bills the last 5 weeks and I am charging groceries and really stressed"  He said he'd borrow $ from his brother.  FINE with me as I've always had to wait for him to pay me whenever he is "low" -- I think either a personal loan or borrowing from his brother is necessary -- he could lose his car to non payment!  Five days has gone by and he says he can't reach his brother.  When next Friday comes, the amount he's behind on his portion of groceries/water bill/rent/power bill will be $1,100 -- I am really low on money -- I may have to cash out a 401k.

Of course, we pray he'll find another full-time job, or even a 2nd part time job, but he's been looking 2 months and still has just the one 16 hour a week job.  Should I bug him daily to ask his brother for money?  Should I keep charging gasoline, the water bill and groceries just to have cash for the mortgage? I FEEL HE THINKS I;LL MAGICALLY "be able to pay all the bills" - he knows my mom alwasy gives us $ at Christmas, I think he hopes I'll borrow from her.  Note: I have helped w/his job hunt, I helped re-do his resume, got him on LinkedIn, I've even went in some restuarants to see if they are hring part time

What would you expect DH to do if he'd "owed" you for shared bills in the past, and now owes you almost $`1,000 for shared rent, power bill, groceries...........My dad said dh should look into food stamps (?)


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 9:20am
(((((((((((hugs ))))))))))))) to you!

Your post made me SOOOOOO appreciative of my SO! ---because...I would be like you, and fortunately my SO DOES take responsibility for himself as much as he can---

When we met, he was working 2 jobs to make ends meet, and when one of them ended, he went out to garage and got stuff out and had a garage sale (his stuff, plus he did all the work) just to get some extra funds........

I dont know how food stamps works, I think they base it on "household' income, but he should be proactve and check into it , anyhow.
He could also be doing the garag sale thing, and justgetting out ON HIS OWN and taking some initiative on these things. Does he get unemployment benefits? Also, what about filing for modification of his CS obligations while his income is low? Not that you want to short his kids-but his responsiblity comes out of his income, and apparenly he doesnt really have any inome to speak of currently....

Hopefully others will have good suggestions for you...........this is what it looks like to me:

1. As long as YOU figure out a way to get things paid for, ....he will let you.

2. As long as there is no pain/suffering for him (eg, lack of food, no heat in house, ....whatever....) he will not be motivated to change.

He needs to come to realization that HE needs to get out there and do something------FWIW, *you* should not have to be posting his resume on sites/etc.........................

(this sounds so much like dealing witha child---sorry!)------

What can you do/cut back on for financial sake, ...that WILL affect him significantly, but not your credit rating/etc?

((((hugs)))) ----

I'm starting to see "help wanted" for holidays signs all over---IMO, he could at least be applying for those things.....
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 9:25am
Here's a quick thought (doesnt solve all your problems, though)--

Put him in charge of buying groceries plus preparing supper each night (he's only working 16 hours/week---should have time). Do NOT be charging groceries!--let him figure this out. (eat a large lunch when you're at work each day :smileyhappy: !!)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 11:37am

I know I responded a little differently on another board because you said you felt your DH was lazy about looking for more work.  And I also think that sometimes in a marriage, esp. a 2nd marriage, it's good to keep money separate.  But you are married.  If in fact your DH was looking very hard for work but just couldnt' find any, then what would you do?  My 2nd DH & I lived together for about a year before we got married--about 6 mos. before the wedding, he hurt himself at work and went on worker's comp.  At first he was getting about $500 a week--I think somehow this amt. was too low,   Now between us we had 3 kids.  he did have some money in the bank from selling his house but eventually that ran out.  After about a year, he went to court and the worker's comp judge said that he could get a job earning $400 a week and so then he was only getting $100 a week from w.c.--well it actually wasn't that easy for him to get a job.  Example:  he had been doing instaling & repairing hardwood floors for the past 20 yrs (which he could no longer do because of his injury) so he figured he'd go to work at Lowe's or Home Depot in the flooring dept--guess what?  They wouldn't hire him, probably because he was too experienced!  He did get a job eventually in a smiliar type of store that was privately owned, but he was only making $12/hr to start.  The only way he made as much as I did after he got a raise was that he was working 55 hrs a week, while I work about 32 hrs a week--but at least his job had the health insurance.  My long winded point here was that this was really bad luck but when you're married, you take the bad with the good.  What would you do if your DH got really sick & couldn't work?  Would you throw him out on the street?  Right now the economy is still bad, he has no education.  When you say he's blue collar, did he have a job that required skills, like a plumber or electrician or not?  Cause if he worked in a very basic job, there are probably a lot of people who are availabel to take those jobs.  The truth is that you might have to pick up the slack while he's out of work.  You do say he is doing houswork.  While my 2nd DH was out of work, he did all the food shopping, cooking & laundry and did some driving around of the kids, so he was contributing.  It was a very difficult time since I didn't make enough to support 5 people and it was stressful, but I couldn't really blame him for being injured.  I do agree that he should try to get his child support payments modified temporarily but also I think you're going to have to sit down together & go over the budget and figure out if you can cut out any expenses--he might be able to borrow from his brother this month, but what about every other month until he gets a job?  Since you describe it as being "your house", does that mean that you were able to pay the mortgage & expenses by  yourself before you got married?  I think you really have to forget about him "owing" you money right now & just try to figure out how you can live on your current income.  Whatever little he earns really has to be going to his child support obligation.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 12:15pm

Ugh, just lost my reply!


Okay, you are married.  Yes, it is a good idea to keep separate accounts, as most of us do here. 

Whatever you do, don't touch your 401k!!!!!!!!

My second home here is Debt Support Board and trust me, if you are charging food and utilities, you will regret it in a very short while. 

I would write every thing down.  Bills, groceries, every penny you can think of that your family spends in a month.  PLUS, quarterly or annual expenses.  Don't forget birthday presents, oil changes, hair cuts, etc. etc. 

Then your current income.

Then show your DH and ask him, respectfully, what ideas he may have to make this balance without using the credit card.  Clearly a CC is a short-term solution which has a very shallow well.

Let him participate in the solution. 

Like the other poster said, it might take eating mac and cheese or something being turned off for him to get the picture. 

Bottom line is although yes, his behaviour is childish, he is still an adult and my hope for you is that by presenting the numbers to him as a partner, and not pointing fingers that this is his fault, might wake him up. 

Good luck and let us know how things go.  Oh, and remember, you may have to cut back on some things.  Also, I am guessing your income alone puts you over getting any assistance, but if your mortgage is so high that you are charging groceries, you two may need to look into what you may qualify for. 

Lastly, you may want to really look at what kind of partnership you and your DH have, and what you can, or cannot live with.   If your DH being home alot is helpful, then maybe you are okay with this for a while,  If not, then something for you to look at.

Hang in there and keep us posted.



Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Music, lost my first reply and I had touched on your point exactly. My thought was what if the OP lost her job and unemployment was too low to cover her 60% they had orginally agreed upon. Then what would they do?

Like I said, they are partners. Now if the DH is lazy, that is one thing. If there is good reason for his underemployment, then that is another.

Separate accounts, yes. But I agree they need to work as a team and hopefully not blame the other.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2011

What jumps out to me though, is that he wrote a bad check to her. So at this point, its not a partnership, but a business transaction, and it wreaks of all the worst in that he has a "mommy" to take care of everything.

I hope OP comes back with an update.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 10:17pm
What jumps out to me though, is that he wrote a bad check to her

Actually--I think it said he FORGED her name signing a check----which really sounds "not desireable"------------BEST CASE scenario: He needed it immediately/couldnt wait for her signature, and *thought* she had agreed to this

that he has a "mommy" to take care of everything.

Yeah, I felt like the best I could do in coming up with options put me in the same mode as when dealing with my teen/young adult kids......

I really feel sorry for OP, because I have no idea how I'd handle it myself........I mean, there is alot of problem solving you could do----but I feel as though OP is left being the only one taking the situation seriously and DOING the problem solving ...................


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
You are both correct! She mentions the forgery that sent them to counseling AND a bounced check. Obviously an accident. Well, I should say not intentional.

I look forward to hearing back from isally, also. Tough spot.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010

All of this sounded totally foreign to me which truly shows my age!  lol

Writing your spouse a check to cover YOUR part of the bills does NOT sound like a partnership/marriage to me.  (Wow...I just sounded like dh who insisted on a joint checking account.)  At any rate, in both of my marriages, everything was/is pooled together and there's none of this "HIS or MY" business.  WE pay the bills; WE make decisions on how to spend money and consult the other. we know, in a second marriage when there are children involved, separate checking accounts is a must, I think. 

Believe me, I understand how OP must a mother and the only one taking responsibility.  I agree with you, Serenity...if her dh is just being lazy...that's one thing, but if he's truly trying to do more...that's another. 

I, too, hope OP updates us.


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
I think in a second, or third marriage, it is a good idea to agree ahead of time how much each person is gong to contribute towards household expenses. Barring change in income.

Can you imagine the potential resentments if isally had a joint checking account and her DH paid CS out of that while only working 16 hours a week?

I think the terminology of "oweing" your spouse money is just for practical purposes. Because I know what you are saying, Starting.

I don't like it if my SO acts like he is "giving" me money. No, you are not giving me money, you are paying your bills! (yes, we have had this conversation in the past)