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: 10-30-2002
Fri, 10-05-2012 - 3:49pm

Thank you for the very kind and helpful responses!

The fact that is it taking dh so long to find a job that's more than has helped me in this way:  I have been very fortunate in keeping my career solid (I work long hours, network, exc., to be as "hirable" as possible and have job security)...but dh's job hunt has made me wish I'd been even more careful with my own spending, because what if my company closed?

Your questions -- yes he did intentionally forge a check of mine, twice, the first year we were married. He essentially apologized and said he "didn't realize it was a big deal" he forged it because he ran out of money.....the next time he ran out of money he called my mom (wthout asking me) and asked to borrow $600.  all of this was years ago and hasn't happened since, but moral of the story is:  he is someone who really spends what he has, he could have $20 and he'd buy a beer to watch tv with. original post was -- now that he's down to 16 hours a week and job-hunting "some", what should I do? 

I was angry because I would job hunt hard if I was down to a certain amt. in the bank -- he doesn't really worry until he's down to, say, $80!  If only he's react faster to "low on money":

Things have gotten better!! I put my foot down and he has been job hunting about 3+ hours a day and has gone out in person 2 or 3 times!  He finally made appt. with the local employment devlopment folks (it's a big office in our county) and they will help w/his resume.

because I'm paying all the bills (he was sick w/fever and got tiny check one week) and have done so before, he did ask his brother for money. His brother said he could afford $60, which I thought was nice.

But I am scared...meaning, he hasn't had many call him for interviews so I may have to cover $600 per month indefiantely that I dont' usually cover-- I have to charge groceries.  MAIn news is he is finally job hunting more, which I am so glad.  Sidenote: his ex wife did finally call and apparently yelled at him about he is 2 wks behind on child support.  he called me and said he's having a bad day, said ex yelled at him about she needs her child support (who could blame her) and he fussed "I'm doing what I can, I just don't care anymore"   Thanks for the advice, if he keeps looking hard surely he will find additional part time job.  (Someone asked what if I lost my job? It would not affect dh as I have (1) two 401k's, (2) paid off my car on purpose, (3) home equity (4) I purposely pay for good medicla insurance "just in case" (4) I have never had to ask him for money, so he has no history of me stressing him with money matters.  I even have things I could sell on ebay if my money got low. I'm just saying he would not suffer from my money matters

Thanks for letting me vent.  Just frustrated because whenever I give good ideas (i.e. would he want to get re-training - this is back when he had settlement money, he blows off ideas).  At least he's job hunting at a good pace :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Fri, 10-05-2012 - 3:52pm
Thanks! we are partners, but he has a history of (a) never saving, (b) letting me cover his 1/2 of car insurance for 5, 6 months at a time (c) spending when he has little $ in bank., (d) borrowing from my mom w/o asking me, and I have not troubled him with $, I have 2 401k's paid off my car, watch my spending, could get home equity loan if needed, just saying I've been pretty wise with $$ and would not burden anyone - I'm simply saying if he cared a little about planning, these financial emergencies wouldn't happen so often (he almost lost his car last year, I've paid every car pmt my whole life, as I am cautious with my budget) that's all
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Not to beat a dead horse here, but when I threw out the hypothetical scenario of you losing your job, I was trying to reinforce the perspective of the two of you being a team, and working together to get your bills paid and be able to eat. 

Would he be posting saying "my wife is out of work and she can't pay me her 50% of the bills."  The two of you have a mortage, the two of you have to pay for car insurance and gas, the two of you need groceries, the two of you need to pay your electricity bill.  So yes, if you lost your job and your incomes together could not pay the mortgage or electricty bill, it would effect him. 

Although I don't blame you for being frustrated, I think we are trying to reinforce the idea that although separate accounts are a good thing, we have to be careful that we are not keeping score. 

I am not trying to say anything is right or wrong here, just offering perspective. 

Me and SO have been together over 6 years.  So in my case, yes, the mortgage is mine, etc.  But we are not married.  You are. 

Have you asked him if he has any ideas on where to cut back so you don't have to use your CC? 

I hope he finds something soon! 


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Sat, 10-06-2012 - 10:20pm

Sadly, I am thinking of asking him to Move Out.  I really don't want to, I am a Christian and believe in marriage.  But I am afraid I am getting taken of advantage of (which is way different than me+dh being in a bad financial spot/problem. my anger is he is taking advantage of me financially.

I left out a Main Issue in my post:

I have sympathy that the job market is tight, but DH looks only "some" for a job. 

Recall, he has a job but it only offers 16 - 19 hours per week.  He wants 2nd job or alternate main job.  I checked my email tonight and got an email from "GLASS" -- it had job listings.  I read them, and 2 were fairly good fits for dh.

Bottom line:  he job-hunted about 1 1/2 hours this morning - let's say it was 2 hours -- and tonight he said at 8pm he does not want to apply for the 2 jobs I just found, "it's too late at night, I'll apply tomorrow"  He was going into his 4th hour of watching sports on TV.   He has No money, his ex called yesterday and yelled at him re: behind on child support, he borrowed $60 from his brother, owes me $800 for regular bills (electricity, exc) and Doesn't Feel Like applying for a job on Saturday night? I don't get it. It's not like he worked today.  Wouldn't you be "hungry" for a job?  I am so sad.....I understand it's not "fun": to job hunt online, but I found 2 good jobs, why not apply?  When his EX yelled at him on phone yesterday about she needs her child support, he later told me "I don't care anymore, I can't sh-T money"  yikes, it's his attitude that's a dissapointment

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Sat, 10-06-2012 - 10:28pm

Serenity, thank you!


If I write down expenses and income and ask dh (respectfully) can he please suggest how we can make ends meet.....(to those new here: DH working 16 hours a week but not job-hunting much...........he usually will say "Well....I'm doing the best I can"   Sometimes he'll say "I am looking for a job.......I'm doing the best I can"  It's like denial that he is not helping me pay any bills.

I think it's good that yesterday, his ex wife called and fussed him out for oweing back child support (he did not get behind on that until recently). His ex is vocal and not a shrinking violet.    I would hope he would feel a bit guilty about owing child support.  My main concern is he job hunts maybe 1 1/2 hours a day and I would be hunting 4 hours or so!  If I had no money for electricity, water, groceries, I would not just job hunt 1 1/2 hours. 

 In the back of my mind, I think about asking him to move out.  That is a big step as I am married, and, financially, it will be hard for me to permanently pay all the bills myself (I could sell the house and move to a smaller place).....I have anger that he watches TV a lot when he could be job-hunting.  By the way, he still buys $4 per box chewing tobacco several times per week, even though he cannot pay car payment, pay for his groceries, exc....he says "Well, I am addicted to it".   Do I have options besides having him move out?  Should I say "I need x, y, z from you to continue living here...and x,y,z could be work 20 hours a week on a job hunt and once he gets a job, pay me a week ahead, like a "Security deposit:?  I know that sounds awful, but there have been too many times that he'll owe me $300 for weeks on end, exc -- What would you tell him if u were me?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Sat, 10-06-2012 - 10:39pm

Thank you Serenity!  Not trying to wear you out on my post!

In theory we are a "Team" and in theory if I lost my job it would affect him, but he and I both know I could pay my 1/2 of the bills for months (if I had no job) as I could take out a home equity loan, cash one of 2 401k's, plus I have small emergency savings.  He can sleep at night knowing I'd never stick him with all the bills (worst case, I could sell my grandmothers jewelry)

Not trying to bug you for more's just that this is not the first time that I am stuck paying all the bills.  

So it's hard to think "I am a part of a team", and rather think "he wants to live here for free. period."  SInce he has gotten himself in a position where he has never had savings, has no cushion, no 401k, then I do feel angry that he's not job hunting more......THa'ts the bulk of my anger.  OK so he never has savings.....ok so he is behind on all his bills -- then why not job hunt HARD and show me, and his ex, and his brother that he owes...that he is determined and responsible.  that's my concern.....honestly I would feel guilty job hunting "Some" and letting someone else pay groceries, water bill, power bill....I know. When I was single and my job was going to be laid off (this was 2004) I would work all day, and job hunt until 11:15pm. I remember, because the job I landed, I had the email, and I applied to a job post at 11 at night, I thought "good work" :-)

Doesn't the peson living here for free, who also owes money to 2 others (his ex)...owe it to us to job hunt "A lot" ?  Thanks for your kindness!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sun, 10-07-2012 - 9:46pm
......THa'ts the bulk of my anger. OK so he never has savings.....ok so he is behind on all his bills -- then why not job hunt HARD and show me, and his ex, and his brother that he owes...that he is determined and responsible. that's my concern.....

(IMO)....because that's not "who he is'.

UNFORTUNATELY ( IMO, again)...."who he is" is someone who's NOT a "team player" re: your household finances,......AND is someone who is perfectly willing to let you solve all (joint) financial issues.........

RE: forging your checks and saying he "didnt realize" (?? ?? ) it was a *big deal* ?? !! !! !! ------Unreal! ....what world is HE living in? ?? !

I dont have much time to write tonight, ....but I just want to validate that I, too would be angry if in your shoes.

Asking him to move out wont get this months bills paid any easier,..........but (IMO, again), *who* he is isnt going to be changing significantly in this lifetime, you've got some hard thinking ahead of you.....

There are financial counselors (BOTH of you need to go), and marriage counselors..............(again---IMO), my guess is he wont want to participate (my guess re: problems he handles them by one of two methods:
1. deny there is a problem
2. leave you to solve for him.

(((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))) for tonight!

"IMO"="In my opinion'
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 10:11am
late at night, I'll apply tomorrow" He was going into his 4th hour of watching sports on TV.

Are you paying for TV? (cable/dish/etc?) ---might be a good service to cut right now........put that $$ towards some of the things that are going onto your credit card

"I don't care anymore, I can't sh-T money" yikes, it's his attitude that's a dissapointment

He sounds depressed,...which would be understandable for someone in his position.......................and, you sound stressed/anxious---which would ALSO be understandable for someone in YOUR position.

Doesn't Feel Like applying for a job on Saturday night? I don't get it. It's not like he worked today. Wouldn't you be "hungry" for a job?

I think what's coming out here, that *his* issues (depression/non-motivation/allowing you to take all responsiblity for $$ issues/whatever) is what is motiviting (or, rather, not motivating) him---------------caring about your feelings is NOT what he's thinking about, (i.e: "gee, it's late and I dont feel like filling that out tonight---they arent going to be hiring anyone tonight anyhow, I can fill it out tomorrow" is his thought, and what he ISNT thinking of/considering, YOUR FEELINGS----"they arent going to hire me tonight, but Isally will feel better if I just fill these out, and it's not that big of a deal to do, so I'll just do it"). I think that's where alot of the anger/disrespect in this entire situation is. You/he cant control the economy/lack of jobs/etc. That part is true. HOWEVER, he *could* say to himself, "gee, there's no need to fill those applications out tonight, EXCEPT that isally will feel alot better about things if I do this, ....and (important here): ITS IMPORTANT TO ME FOR ISALLY TO FEEL WELL, AND SINCE I LOVE HER, I'D LIKE TO DO THINGS THAT MAKE HER HAPPY IF/WHEN POSSIBLE." ------*that* , I think, is the underlying issue..........

I mean, my SO is neurotic about some things........and, honestly, if I can say/do something that will alleviate these feelings for him, (eg, he generaly wants to leave on time/early for things we go to---I just make it a point to be ready earlier than he tells me he wants to leave, so that he doesnt need to worry I will be late---it's not that big of a deal, and makes him feel better/less anxious.. That type of stuff. Doesnt hurt me to do it---like it wouldnt have hurt your DH to fill out the applications that night---but he would be doing it because he cared about your feelings, and doing so would help relieve your anxiety that night.

How does that play out in other areas of your relationship? Do you feel as though he cares/is respectful of your feelings?

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Ahhh, okay.  It is starting to make a little more sense here.  No wonder money is one of the top reasons people get divorced. 

Like I think Laurena said, it is more about his attitude than it is the dollar amount.  And I would have to agree that he sounds a bit depressed.  If you don't mind me asking, is he a drinker? 

My mind is all over the place thinking of different ways you could approach this.  It does kind of depend if he is truly depressed (which unless there are clinical issues, is really self-pity) or just flat out lazy.  What was his mood, and your R like, in the past when he was working full-time?  Where did he live and how did he support himself before you got M? 

Obviously, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt here and hope some of our ideas here, or counseling, will help the two of you. 

Oh, and what ever you do, don't touch that 401K!! 

I don't know what you should do when it litterally comes to your marriage, but now is the time before you go bankrupt.  Don't wait to seriously address this.  You will regret using your CC for groceries under these circumstances.  The resentment will just keep growing and growing. 

I am in CC debt by my own doing, not because of anyone else. 

My second xH was an alcoholic and meth addict and also a compulsive gambler.  (I am sober 15 years now myself) and I loved him through every detox, every treatment and every glimmer of hope.   Yes, he was sick and yes, he needed help.  But even someone who is sick needs to take their "medicine" and he chose not to.  You can hand that sick person the pill and glass of water, but they have to be the one to take it. 

Well, enough out of me.  I hope there was something helpful in there and I just didn't confuse you more.  Only you know what your marriage is like as a whole, money aside. 

Keep us posted!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I really think marriage counseling would be helpful here & if he won't go, then I think you should go yourself to sort things out about what your limits are.  I suppose you could say "I really need you to spend X hours a day looking for a job": but considering you are working yourself, how do you monitor that?  It puts you in the place of being the boss or the mom and he's still not really taking responsibility for himself.  In one way I can understand why he didn't stop watching his football on Sat. night to immediately apply for the jobs you had found--I am employed but looking for a better job.  Sometimes those online apps. are time consuming and you also want to send a cover letter that goes with that job & I find that late at night is probably not the best time to do that.  I applied for one job on Sat. & it took 1/2 hour to finish up all their stuff on line. Plus if it's a weekend night, as laurena said, I doubt anyone is there looking at the applications then, so it really wouldn't matter if he watied til Sunday--as long as he actually did send in the application.  He just doesn't seem to have a motivated attitude to do things on his own without nagging.  When my friend was out of work (and she had an executive job that paid over $100,000) even though she had received a severance package of a whole year's pay, she started her job hunt immediately & made it a full time job to look--she knew it would take a while to find that kind of a job--it did take her 6 months.  But she was divorced & had 2 kids in college so it's not like there was anyone else to help her out.

As a divorce lawyer myself, I also worry about you just asking him to move out--what if he says no?  You really can't kick him out until you're divorced and if he has no job (or lower paying) then you also might be stuck paying him alimony, depending on how long you have been married, so you need to investigate that aspect too.