Reply
Moderator Emerita
Community Leader
Epic Contributor
Posts: 28,098
Registered: ‎04-01-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

 


GregB wrote:

Creditaddict wrote:

 

what do you mean joint cards are rare, you can get a joint account with almost any bank out there except amex off the top of my head


I've helped a couple dozen people clean up CCs and such during divorce and never saw a single one. Joint Mortgage, Joint Auto Loan, even a few Joint Personal Loans, but zero Joint CC. Perhaps this varies by state? I've got two credit apps for unsolicited CC offers that are sitting in front of me and I don't see any place to even enter a Joint Applicant. They only list Primary and Additional Cardholder information.


 

For anyone looking at an app like this, I'd advise clarifying exactly what "Additional Cardholder" means before I filled anything out.

 

Alas, we here on the forums are often way more clear about joint vs AU than are customer service reps, designers of application forms, divorce attorneys, etc etc. :smileytongue: I can easily see how a lender might claim that filling in the "additional cardholder" section meant a hard inq on that person's credit report/s, and thus joint status. :smileytongue: :smileytongue:

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,626
Registered: ‎10-13-2009
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...


charliechan wrote:

Good morning, I went through a divorce about 4 years ago and in our divorce decree it states that a joint retail credit card was to be my ex-husbands responsiblity (he kept all the items that were purchased with the card).  I called and tried to get removed from the credit card, however I was told that I was still obligated even though the divorce decree stated it was no longer my responsiblity.  The card is still open and being used and while that wouldn't normally bother me, my ex has now made a payment over 30 days late on it which is showing negative against me.  I have never made any late payments and this is a huge annoyance to me and my credit score.  What should I do to keep from being penalized for this debt that is no longer supposed to be my responsiblity?

 

Any help is appreciated!


Unfortunately, a divorce decree can virtually never bind an existing creditor or change the terms of a pre-existing credit agreement.  At this point if the account goes south at the hands of your former spouse, if it is a joint account it can reflect on your credit report and there is little, if any, direct recourse.  As previously suggested, you could try to have the account closed, but that is something the creditor is not obligated to do.  Even if they did close the account at your request, if your former spouse failed to meet the terms of the credit agreement it would reflect on your credit report.

 

There are at least two possible steps you could consider.  Depending on the specific terms in your divorce decree, you may be able to take legal action against your ex-spouse.  You need to understand, though, that in many instances this could be extremely risky in that there may be the potential for an angry ex-spouse to seek revenge.  You may also be able to bring the apparent failure to follow the terms of the divorce decree.  This is, however, an extreme long shot as few judges have not only neither the time or the patience for these issues, but it is extremely rare for a judge to hold a party in contempt over what may be considered trivial issues.  I mean, they are very reluctant to make a finding of contempt when child support orders are ignored so how much more unlikely would it be simply because one doesn't pay their assigned credit card debt?

 

What might be an option is just to talk with your ex-spouse to see what the issue is and try to work out a possible solution to avoid further damage to your credit.  As for the ding you've already suffered, there are others on this forum who are experts in getting dings removed.

IAALBNYL
Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,626
Registered: ‎10-13-2009
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

[ Edited ]

GregB wrote:

Creditaddict wrote:

 

what do you mean joint cards are rare, you can get a joint account with almost any bank out there except amex off the top of my head

 


I've helped a couple dozen people clean up CCs and such during divorce and never saw a single one. Joint Mortgage, Joint Auto Loan, even a few Joint Personal Loans, but zero Joint CC. Perhaps this varies by state? I've got two credit apps for unsolicited CC offers that are sitting in front of me and I don't see any place to even enter a Joint Applicant. They only list Primary and Additional Cardholder information.


Actually, it doesn't even have to be a joint account.  AmEx is famous for incorporating terms into their card agreements making AUs liable for their specific use of the account should things go sour with the primary cardholder.  Many other banks have followed suit.

 

Further, in many states a spouse can be held responsible for the other's debts incurred during the marriage -- especially if purchases were for necessities of life.

 

Failing that, if the OP is just a simple AU, she can dispute the account as not hers and it should vanish.

 

OP should consult a local attorney who is familiar with all the fine details of her case.

IAALBNYL
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,717
Registered: ‎08-13-2009
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

Here's another idea...  if you are up for it.

 

Talk to the cc - tell them you will pay it off if they close the card IMMEDIATELY!

 

I had an x and they bugged me for payment and I never saw the card.  Told them I would pay if they would close the card.  They did.  I did.  Problem solved.  And a good hahaha when the x went to use the card next time.  (he often had it over the limit and was late with payments so he was outraged over this unfair treatment for denying a charge because he was, once again, over the limit and late with payment)  The card never showed on my CR.

 

Ssshhhh -- I don't think he ever learned it was me that closed the card out cuz he never let me know about the card.  :smileyhappy:

 

Consider it...you would be cutting your losses and saving your future credit.

New Member
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-20-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

i have a similar dilemma...i'm a joint or AU on a CC that the X is now over 120 days late on so i am watching my score TANK!  and this is after seeing it skyrocket because of an inheritance that i used to pay off significant debt.  i will try to verify my status, but pretty sure it's just AU.  the difference is that the CC was closed well before the divorce was final and yes, it is listed in the decree that he pay the debt.  he doesn't get to make additional charges, which is a good thing.  but this little run of not paying them is killing me.  Any advice on this or am i just screwed?  i did post a dispute on T/U but it's still pending.

Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,626
Registered: ‎10-13-2009
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

[ Edited ]

divorcerecovery wrote:

i have a similar dilemma...i'm a joint or AU on a CC that the X is now over 120 days late on so i am watching my score TANK!  and this is after seeing it skyrocket because of an inheritance that i used to pay off significant debt.  i will try to verify my status, but pretty sure it's just AU.  the difference is that the CC was closed well before the divorce was final and yes, it is listed in the decree that he pay the debt.  he doesn't get to make additional charges, which is a good thing.  but this little run of not paying them is killing me.  Any advice on this or am i just screwed?  i did post a dispute on T/U but it's still pending.

 


As long as you are sure a) you are / were only an AU (authorized user) and b) you do not live in a community property state and c) did not personally incur any of the charges, you should be able to dispute the account as "not mine" and have it deleted from your credit reports.

 

If you cannot answer yes to each of these three items, it is possible that you may be stuck.

IAALBNYL
New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-22-2008
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

You have received good feedback; however, the easiest way to remember is that a divorce decree does not supersede the original contract you have with a creditor.  While you and your ex might agree on who pays what, the creditor was not sitting at the table when this arrangement was hammered out and does not see itself as a party to that agreement, only to what you originally agreed to with them.  You might mutually agree to closing out the account but until the balance is paid in full, even closing out the account does not help if one of you defaults on the debt, the other is still liable for account just as well.

Moderator Emerita
Community Leader
Epic Contributor
Posts: 28,098
Registered: ‎04-01-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

 


Consumerman wrote:

You have received good feedback; however, the easiest way to remember is that a divorce decree does not supersede the original contract you have with a creditor.  While you and your ex might agree on who pays what, the creditor was not sitting at the table when this arrangement was hammered out and does not see itself as a party to that agreement, only to what you originally agreed to with them.  You might mutually agree to closing out the account but until the balance is paid in full, even closing out the account does not help if one of you defaults on the debt, the other is still liable for account just as well.


 

...unless it's an AU card. If it's a joint card, that's different. Authorized users are just that: users, not joint owners.

 

I'd go via the credit bureaus, rather than via the CCC, and just dispute as "not mine", as mentioned above. If it shows "authorized" in the ownership field, this should be enough to remove the card.

 

I would first print out any credit reports that show the account as authorized. I'd like to have a print copy of that before beginning any dispute.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Senior Contributor
Posts: 3,626
Registered: ‎10-13-2009
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...


haulingthescoreup wrote:

 


Consumerman wrote:

You have received good feedback; however, the easiest way to remember is that a divorce decree does not supersede the original contract you have with a creditor.  While you and your ex might agree on who pays what, the creditor was not sitting at the table when this arrangement was hammered out and does not see itself as a party to that agreement, only to what you originally agreed to with them.  You might mutually agree to closing out the account but until the balance is paid in full, even closing out the account does not help if one of you defaults on the debt, the other is still liable for account just as well.


 

...unless it's an AU card. If it's a joint card, that's different. Authorized users are just that: users, not joint owners.

 

I'd go via the credit bureaus, rather than via the CCC, and just dispute as "not mine", as mentioned above. If it shows "authorized" in the ownership field, this should be enough to remove the card.

 

I would first print out any credit reports that show the account as authorized. I'd like to have a print copy of that before beginning any dispute.


Except with AmEx and one or two other bank cards. 

 

I'm not sure how they handle credit bureau reporting, but legally AmEx will nail your butt to a cross if the main cardholder defaults and part of the debt includes purchases made by the AU.

IAALBNYL
Moderator Emerita
Community Leader
Epic Contributor
Posts: 28,098
Registered: ‎04-01-2007
0

Re: Divorce and the joint credit card...

True about AmEx. One of the few exceptions.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Advertiser Disclosure: The listings that appear on myFICO are from companies from which myFICO receives compensation, which may impact how and where products appear on myFICO (including, for example, the order in which they appear). myFICO does not review or include all companies or all available products.
† Credit cards for FICO Score ranges: The score ranges are guidelines based on actual applicant approvals and having a FICO Score in a particular range does not guarantee you will be approved for credit cards recommended in that range.

Copyright ©2001-2015 Fair Isaac Corporation. All rights reserved.   | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: All FICO® Score products made available on myFICO.com include a FICO® Score 8, along with additional FICO® Score versions. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than the versions you receive from myFICO, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more

FICO, myFICO, Score Watch, The score lenders use, and The Score That Matters are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation. Equifax Credit Report is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. and its affiliated companies. Many factors affect your FICO Score and the interest rates you may receive. Fair Isaac is not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Fair Isaac does not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit record, credit history or credit rating. FTC's website on credit.