I wanted to ask your opinion on here- we have a serious amount of debt (about $48k right now). About half is mine from my divorce and custody battle over my daughter, and half is my partners because of some car accidents and bad financial choices of his. Up until about April of this year we were unable to pay off anything, because our income barely covered just our basic needs. Now he has a new job and we have "extra" money each paycheck that can/will go towards debt. I think our expenses for come out to about $2,300 each month, leaving $1,400/month to go towards debt.
So my question is about a couple of the smaller debts:
debt #1: a client paid my partner for a website, the client turned out to be really crazy, threatening to sue us several times because he didn't understand how programming and web design works. I have written down that when they mutually decided to end the project because it was not working out, that this person had paid us $350 for work that wasn't completed. We have not heard from this person in about a year. Should we track them down and pay them this money back? In my heart I want to do the right thing, but also I am guessing this person forgot or didn't know about the money. I'm not sure. In order to get out of debt sooner is this a debt I should also just forget about?
debt #2: similar situation, my partner was working from home and not getting much done because the kids were so distracting, so we tried renting a cheap office for a couple months. It wasn't working out so we stopped. I have written down that we owed the last months rent but were unable to pay it then. It's $280. I haven't heard from the lawyer he was renting the office from ever. Should we contact him and pay this or pay a debt that has interest? I guess my conflict is doing the right thing vs. the seriousness of our debt.
Also is it true that some debts can be so old you might not have to pay them anymore? We're in the US.
I've tried to do research on whether or not we should be looking into bankruptcy or just working on paying off the debt. I have not found any clear answers. What kind of person can you go to for advice on this? A lawyer of some kind?
Thank you in advance and sorry it's so many questions.