Hi Terry,
My daughter was married last year. She was in good financial shape until then. Apparently her husband has huge outstanding student loan debt and has not been keeping up the payments. I think the loans have been seen to collection agencies. When she filed their joint income tax return, the refund she was expecting was taken by the IRS due to his loan debt. I advised that they should see a counselor about consolidating this debt and paying it off. They are willing to do this, but don’t know where to go. I saw a website for http://www.moneymanagement.org, but I don’t know who is trustworthy and who isn’t. Do you have any advice or recommendations? We are fans of yours on WGN news in the morning. Thank you.

Terry Says:   Aha — this is a classic example of the fact that when you marry someone for better or for worse you also marry his/her credit report!  I wish they had discussed this in advance.  (You can still get a copy on Amazon.com of my recent book:  The New Love Deal — Everything You Must know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving on — written with divorce court judge Michele Lowerance and divorce attorney Gemma Allen.)  This should have been disclosed and discussed BEFORE marriage — and certainly before they filed a joint tax return.

Yes, they need credit counseling.  The fact that she filed a joint tax return means her credit is now irretrievably linked with his.  I always recommend the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227.  In Chicago, their preferred agency is MoneyMangement.org — so you pointed them in the right direction.   They should go together, in person, for counseling and bring a complete list of all his student loans, which he can easily get from his lenders.