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Crazy situation

Ashley and her ex-husband adopted their son in 2019 but the marriage fell apart the next year. Since then, they’ve been fighting over custody of the child — which can get expensive.

Family attorneys who specialize in such cases can charge anywhere from $250-$300 an hour, according to Thumbtack data. However, the total cost could be much higher when fees and other expenses are considered. Ashley says she has incurred $20,000 to $25,000 in legal fees from two court appearances so far and doesn’t think the battle is over yet.

To finance her fight, she borrowed money on a line of credit. She also has other debt — $25,000 in auto loans for her car and $9,000 in credit card debt.

She wants to get into a position where, as Ramsey describes it, the “next time crazy ex comes along, you can punch him in the nose with a lawyer.” Not being in that place has caused Ashley a great deal of anxiety and depression, she says.

Unfortunately, she’s made her situation more challenging by expanding this debt pile with a new auto loan for a $48,000 truck for her fiance. She doesn’t count this as her own since he pays the monthly payments. However, co-host Rachel Cruze doesn’t agree.

“I know he takes care of it, but if he doesn’t it’s on you,” she tells Ashley. Ramsey then jumps in, adding, “And so you’re carrying this around your neck — you feel it between your shoulder blades; you feel the weight of it.”

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Quick fix

A silver lining in Ashley’s cloudy financial situation is her income. She’s able to pick up plenty of overtime in her role as a nurse, earning $100,000 last year and was on track to bring home between $80,000 and $90,000 last year. “You have a fabulous career choice because you'll always have a job and you can always make money when you're a nurse,” Ramsey tells her.

Indeed, there's an acute shortage of nurses across the country — the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there’s a need for 275,000 additional workers in the sector by 2030. Meanwhile, nursing jobs are projected to grow 9% annually until 2026. Ashley’s profession is in high demand and commands high income.

He advises her to get rid of the truck quickly and pay down her credit cards to lower debt. Cruz adds she should get rid of her car and pay down that auto loan too.

“The more areas of your life you can get non-chaos in, the faster your anxiety is going to drop,” he says.

Ramsey tosses in a little personal advice while he’s at it, advising Ashley to either marry or dump her boyfriend because being in limbo waiting for court cases to resolve is causing more anxiety. “Paint or get off the ladder!”

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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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