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Senior Contributor
john398
Posts: 3,522
Registered: ‎01-19-2009
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

sorry you have to go through all of this

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SunriseEarth
Posts: 4,425
Registered: ‎08-12-2013
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account


Malinorne wrote:

Unfortunately, I did sign for it. I didn't know, at the time I was signing up for a credit card with him. He's been very irresponsible with money for at least the last decade. We've had separate checking accounts for longer than that because of his inability to control his spending.

He got a new job and we transfered my IRA over to a CU with his new employer and opened banking accounts (separately) for each of us there too. We had to sign lots of paperwork. I didn't even know I was signing up for it. When the cards came in the mail, I never knew. It was at least 6 years before I even know "we" got a card together. I only discovered it when I applied for a credit report because he filed for divorce on me in the fall. I moved out of the house and had my mail forwarded, so now the bill comes to me. He stopped making payments on it, and it is in default. I never even knew I had this card for 6 years. I realize that's irresponsible of me, but I never made a purchase on this card, I never activitated this card, and now he wants me to split the bill with him. If I would have known that I had a credit card with him, I would have called and cancelled it immediately upon receiving the card 6 years. But again, I didn't know we had a card together. This is the only card we're joint on for virtually this very reason.

 

We're in a equitable distribution state, not community property.

 

I wasn't sure if it would be worth the effort to write a letter to dispute the card to the credit reporting agencies. It would be cheaper than getting the lawyers involved, but if it has no chance of working, it's not worth the time.

 

Thanks for the information and for trying to help. I'll pop over to the rebuilding section later today.


I'm very sorry you're going through this.   Being that you're in an equitable distribution state, I would seek legal advice regarding your responsibilities with the debt. 


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Malinorne
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-29-2014
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

Thank you all for the help. I was/am afraid I'll be stuck with it too. I wouldn't have knowingly signed up for a credit card with him. It must have just been buried in the stack of papers to sign; when the actual cards arrived in the mail, I never knew of their existence.

 

His lawyer is proposing a split on the card (slighty heavy on his side). The first month the card was open, he did a balance transfer of one of his cards onto this card (for the majority of the credit limit). He claims the former card was used for marital expenses, so he wants to split the debt on this card with me. It's not a 50/50 split, but still. The second month he charged up the remaining balance. Since then he's only made payments on it so he could make another charge on the card. It is a financial train wreck. I never used the card, and I worry that if I agree to splitting this one card, that it will be a precendent for him when he brings all his other cards to the table.

 

I have a card of my own with a balance I'm not happy with and am working to pay down. I used it for marital expenses (groceries, etc.); I haven't asked him (yet) to pay for part of my card. Again, I worry if I bring my card to the table, it will be an opening from him to bring his debt (which I assume is far more severe than mine) to the table.

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Revelate
Posts: 9,634
Registered: ‎12-30-2011
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

[ Edited ]

Malinorne wrote:

Thank you all for the help. I was/am afraid I'll be stuck with it too. I wouldn't have knowingly signed up for a credit card with him. It must have just been buried in the stack of papers to sign; when the actual cards arrived in the mail, I never knew of their existence.

 

His lawyer is proposing a split on the card (slighty heavy on his side). The first month the card was open, he did a balance transfer of one of his cards onto this card (for the majority of the credit limit). He claims the former card was used for marital expenses, so he wants to split the debt on this card with me. It's not a 50/50 split, but still. The second month he charged up the remaining balance. Since then he's only made payments on it so he could make another charge on the card. It is a financial train wreck. I never used the card, and I worry that if I agree to splitting this one card, that it will be a precendent for him when he brings all his other cards to the table.

 

I have a card of my own with a balance I'm not happy with and am working to pay down. I used it for marital expenses (groceries, etc.); I haven't asked him (yet) to pay for part of my card. Again, I worry if I bring my card to the table, it will be an opening from him to bring his debt (which I assume is far more severe than mine) to the table.


Your divorce lawyer really should be handling this; for all the advice and experience on this forum, it is not qualified legal advice.  I think you're going to have to let the courts and the creditors decide on this one from what you've described (a settlement substantially in your favor doesn't seem tremendously likely) and I wouldn't attempt to pursue that without legal representation.

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navistar
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

If you guys cant mediate this divorce, it will be very likely that debt is distributed evenly; atleast distributed in correlation to income. Im sure you want everything else split evenly and fairly such as any equity, parenting time, assets, etc.? same goes for debt. Just because you turned a blind eye to your HUSBAND's problem doesnt make it go away.

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Malinorne
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-29-2014
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account


navistar wrote:

If you guys cant mediate this divorce, it will be very likely that debt is distributed evenly; atleast distributed in correlation to income. Im sure you want everything else split evenly and fairly such as any equity, parenting time, assets, etc.? same goes for debt. Just because you turned a blind eye to your HUSBAND's problem doesnt make it go away.


He's not even willing to mediate. He just wants the lawyers to handle everything. He won't speak to me. He wouldn't try counseling. I just received divorce papers one Saturday, out of the blue, while he was at work. It was a complete surprise and shock to me. Our children our adults. There's no equity in the house; he always paid the mortgage but somehow he's borrowed against, it is amost the entire value of the house (the mortgage is nearly 40 years old).

 

We have almost no assets, and what we do have he actually started moving out of the house before filing for divorce (while I was at work or the one weekend I went away to visit my sister). I didn't discover that he moved anything until a month after I suspect he moved it; he of course denies moving anything, but also says that the stuff (without admitting to moving it) is his personal property, not marital property. I'm smart enough now to realize that anything bought during a marriage is marital property, regardless of who paid for it, or whose name it is in (in an equitable distribution state, at least). He was trying to file a PFA on me, so I moved out of the house around Christmas time, just so I could take some stuff with me. I couldn't afford the mortgage payment with my job, so I couldn't have him thrown out (via PFA).

 

He's an accountant, so I don't understand how he's so poor at financial matters. Granted I'm not very good at it, but I never needed to be because I naively trusted his ability to handle it. I never knew how much money he made; he wouldn't tell me because he didn't feel it was any of my business since he was paying the bills. Now I know, and it is far less than I thought he was making. I can't figure out how he strung along so much debt.

 

He won't tell me why we're getting a divorce, nor why he wasn't willing to try counseling. I truly am beginning to think we're getting a divorce just so he can put half (or some amount) of the debt he charged up (on cards only in his name, the mortgage, and the car payments) onto me. We could have gotten out of the financial mess together, if we would have sat down and had an honest conversation about debt and made changes in our lives, especially to save our marriage and keep the family together.

 

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NYSuperdoodle
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎04-29-2014
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

As someone trying to bounce back from a divorce, and paying for all the unwise spending habits of my ex, I can say that I will NEVER have another joint account with a spouse, should I ever have a spouse again. 

 

I just finished paying for $1300 in bounced checks she wrote on a joint HSBC account that was, in all practicality, her account. HSBC chose not to refer her to a CA, or Check Systems, but they sure as heck did it to me. What a PITA. 

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GregB
Posts: 1,669
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

[ Edited ]

I'm sorry this is happening but I would guess it is going to get worse before it gets better. You are likely to keep getting hit with the "next" problem.

 

The Family Law procedures vary so much from state to state that only an attorney in your state has a hope of giving you advice that will be helpful. Even they won't have much in the way of absolute answers.

 

I can't imagine that a joint CC is anything other than joint responsibility even if you had not signed the application. It was done so long before Date of Separation that it is unlikely to be determined to be anything other than joint. You could not justify spending $10,000 in legal fees trying to argue about a $7,500 debt anyway. A bigger problem is that the laws of your state may say that the creditor is able to go after either of you for the entire debt. If he doesn't pay, you will get to pay all of it and then try to go after him. That is certainly a very common scenario but it will be determined by the laws in your state and how each person manipulates the system. So far, he is WAY ahead of you in manipulating the system. Give that some thought and plan accordingly.

 

Another big thing to think about is that the norm is for ALL settlements before trial are only for the purposes of settlement and he can, and likely will, decide that any agreements made during settlement are void at trial. If you start paying half of this debt, don't think that gets you out of paying his debt too.

 

What about the shortfall on the house? Check on the laws in your state regarding that debt because it could be the big one. If it goes to forclosure and your state allows the mortgage holder to come after the borrowers, that could be ugly.

 

Sorry to scare you but the bottom line is that you can't commit to much without the help of an attorney.

 

Another thought: Is he a SELF EMPLOYED accountant? If so, forcing him to go through the forensic accounting to determine cash flow and business value can be very good leverage. Too bad accounting firms are one of the least expensive businesses to value.

 

Include ALL items he moved out of the house to the property itemization. Just because it is missing from the house does not mean it is not marital property. If he wants to claim it as his separate property, make him prove it. Start getting copies of all the CC records that have your name on it. Any property bought with those cards is stll marital property unless he can prove it is not. Did he get a cash advance on that CC? If so, assume he used that to pay a car payment on his car he is claiming as his separate property. There will be an expensive forensic accounting procedure that will need to be done to determine separate/joint value. HE will need to pay for that.

 

 

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japakar
Posts: 164
Registered: ‎05-21-2014
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Re: Claiming "not mine" on a joint credit card account

Things will get better :smileyhappy:  They always do and are often better than before.  I am very thankful when my wife divorced her husband he had nothing at all, no CCs no debts no property no anything.  He would not mediate either.  By the end of divorce all he had to show from the marraige was 2 days a month with his kids (not overnight and not unsupervised) not that he ever came to see them in the 4 years since but thats another story.

 

If thats all they have hit you with so far regarding credit cards, his lawyers have probably already looked his stuff over and that is the only CC they can go after you for.  I would assume they would of hit you with all of his CC debts if they could of.

 

As others have said, your part responsible, I would try to get this figured before it goes to the judge deciding as then its half at best.  (always try to get things done or put in paper before a judge gets to decide, they tend not to decide what you want)

 

Good luck with it all!  Just keep your head up and be happy, itll be over before you know it. :smileyhappy:  Nothing worse than letting someone else drag you down.


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