His career job was just not enough to make ends meet because his wife had invested her time in raising two children (and she did a very good job), rather than entering the workforce. He never wanted to file for bankruptcy. He prided himself on paying his bills and supporting the family.
In the past, they had refinanced their home periodically to pay off credit cards, but in today's economy that was no longer possible. He then took a second job doing security work, which kept the bills paid, but through no fault of his, his employer lost that contract, and he lost that second job.
Unable to replace the income, they made their minimum payments on the credit cards, cut their expenses, did not replace their 7-year old car, and did the best they could.
They did not want to file for bankruptcy. They used their substantial 2014 tax refund to pay credit cards, but still were not able to escape the cycle.
The credit card companies made things worse. After he made large payments from his tax refund, they lowered his credit limits, causing him to have "over-limit-fees". Then they increased his interests rate. Now, notwithstanding his regular monthly payments, the balances never seem to go down.
Finally, notwithstanding the embarassment, the decided to seek my help for a free consultation. We spent a lot of time together, and I figured out how to qualify him for a chapter 7 case, and manage the risks that I did discover. They will get to keep their house and car, get rid of their old credit card balances, and have a balanced budget with his remaining job.