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Joint Account Issue

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Senior Contributor

Joint Account Issue

DW has 2 open joint accounts with her exhusband.  Nothing was written into the divorce decress specificly addressing these accounts, the agreement between them was that the accounts would be paid off and closed.   One was mainly used by her exhusband and one mainly by DW. 

 

 The one mainly used by DW was at a zero balance, and DW simply didn't use it for years.   A couple of years ago, a situation arose where DW needed to use the available credit on that card, she used it and paid it ASAP.  That card currently has a zero balance and a $12,000 CL.

 

The card mainly used by her exhusband was paid off at the time by exhusband via a personal loan.   Over the last couple of years he has maxed out the card.  Currently has a $17,000 balance on a $19,000 CL.  

 

Since these are both joint accounts both of them are responsible for the debts.   DW's card its not an issue as it is not being used and DW is ready to close that account.   She is only keeping it open right now to pad util.   She contacted exhusband in Jan and asked him to do something about getting his card paid and closed and then she would close hers. He said he would work on.   We never heard back from him about it and the account is still reporting as open and 91%util.

 

DW sent email to US Banks Executive office seeing if they would remove her name from the account.  We knew it was a long shot and as expect they will not remove her name.

 

At this point we see 4 options for this account.

1. Do nothing and hope he pays it off before he dies. 

2. Contact lawyer and see if we have any legal recorse.  I doubt we do.

3. Close both cards with no notice.

4. Contact exhusband again giving him a firm date to take care of this or DW will close both accounts.

 

At this point we are mostly seteled on option 4.   If both cards are closed then DWs util will go up as she will no longer have the 12K util padding on her card.   So knowing that Amex gave me a decent SL and a 3X CLI recently we decied to open a new card for her to help offset the loss of that credit line.   Not only was she approved to a Amex Cash Magnet but she got a $20,000 SL.   That will actually give her MORE util padding. 

 

Does anyone see any other options?  We just have to hope he keeps paying on the account once she closes it.   If he decides to stick it to her we either have to pay the debt or take a huge hit to a long and perfect credit history. 

 

 


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Message 1 of 13
12 REPLIES 12
Moderator

Re: Joint Account Issue

1 - A frightening proposition.  If he defaults or carries the balances perpetually, that's affecting her.

2 - To be clear, the agreement was verbal?  Not sure what legal standing any of this would have; I'd perhaps suggest small claims court, but maybe I just watched too much People's Court growing up?

3 - Same as #1.  Most likely the original credit line and current balance would still be factored into DW's utilization on the one with the 89% utilization, but depending on how the lender reports that, it could be worse.  Again, if he defaults on the payments it's still on her as well.

4 - I think this is probably the best option if he is agreeable to it.  If so, get it in writing and notarized this time!


Message 2 of 13
Contributor

Re: Joint Account Issue

Use the $2k available on the SL to hire a different lawyer to handle it.

That's all i can think of that will handle the situation.... Legally at least.
Message 3 of 13
Senior Contributor

Re: Joint Account Issue


@K-in-Boston wrote:

1 - A frightening proposition.  If he defaults or carries the balances perpetually, that's affecting her.

2 - To be clear, the agreement was verbal?  Not sure what legal standing any of this would have; I'd perhaps suggest small claims court, but maybe I just watched too much People's Court growing up?

3 - Same as #1.  Most likely the original credit line and current balance would still be factored into DW's utilization on the one with the 89% utilization, but depending on how the lender reports that, it could be worse.  Again, if he defaults on the payments it's still on her as well.

4 - I think this is probably the best option if he is agreeable to it.  If so, get it in writing and notarized this time!


Looks like you are reading it perfectly, K.  If he dosen't agree to the closure of the account and acutally follow through the question is then what.  Does DW close the account and pray he keeps paying even though she closed it.   If he pays it over time then we have to hope he dosen't die before it's paid off.

 

I'm not sure 16K would count as small claims. 

 

The 91% util is holding back her scores somewhat, luckly the rest of her profile is good  as evidenced by the approval with the 20K SL, her apr wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst either.   All her scores are in the 780s.


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Message 4 of 13
Moderator

Re: Joint Account Issue


@K-in-Boston wrote:

1 - A frightening proposition.  If he defaults or carries the balances perpetually, that's affecting her.

2 - To be clear, the agreement was verbal?  Not sure what legal standing any of this would have; I'd perhaps suggest small claims court, but maybe I just watched too much People's Court growing up?

3 - Same as #1.  Most likely the original credit line and current balance would still be factored into DW's utilization on the one with the 89% utilization, but depending on how the lender reports that, it could be worse.  Again, if he defaults on the payments it's still on her as well.

4 - I think this is probably the best option if he is agreeable to it.  If so, get it in writing and notarized this time!


+1

 

Usually a joint account can be closed unilaterally by either party at any time so closing it shouldn't be an issue.  That said, unless things are different in your state your DW will be at the mercy of her ex to "do the right thing" since she chose not to close the account when it was PIF (I'm not judging her decision... just stating how it works where I am).

 

Unless the ex has an income (or the resources) that allow him to 'cough up' $17k on a moment's notice - and he likely doesn't or else he wouldn't be revolving $17k to begin with - it might be best to not 'rock the boat'.  Your DW will have to predict how he would react to a sudden or forced closure... if he's the spiteful type he could decide to drop the entire thing in her lap.

 

Even if you find a willing attorney to help out, by the time it gets to a judge the damage will be done so it would be a Pyrrhic victory at best, and that's assuming you won (further, even with a judgement if the man is broke the judgement isn't worth much).  The interwebs are full of stories where one spouse had a court order to pay on a joint debt but didn't, and by the time it got back before the judge the damage was done (as it's already been said, the credit issuers aren't bound by a divorce decree).

 

All that said, in my humble opinion the most favorable solution at this time (assuming he can't/won't PIF) is to close the account in an amicable way (try to put a positive spin on it if possible, i.e. you're "helping him out").  As far as getting him to agree in writing to pay anything you can try, but he's likely to tell you to pound sand so I would be hesitant to bring that up.  As much as it pains me to say it, the ex is holding all the cards in this situation so it's best to avoid antagonizing him if at all possible.

 

Side note:  While I'm glad things have worked out with DW's utilization and 'padding', with all of this going on I'm hoping that's the least of her concerns.

Message 5 of 13
Senior Contributor

Re: Joint Account Issue


@UncleB wrote:

@K-in-Boston wrote:

1 - A frightening proposition.  If he defaults or carries the balances perpetually, that's affecting her.

2 - To be clear, the agreement was verbal?  Not sure what legal standing any of this would have; I'd perhaps suggest small claims court, but maybe I just watched too much People's Court growing up?

3 - Same as #1.  Most likely the original credit line and current balance would still be factored into DW's utilization on the one with the 89% utilization, but depending on how the lender reports that, it could be worse.  Again, if he defaults on the payments it's still on her as well.

4 - I think this is probably the best option if he is agreeable to it.  If so, get it in writing and notarized this time!


+1

 

Usually a joint account can be closed unilaterally by either party at any time so closing it shouldn't be an issue.  That said, unless things are different in your state your DW will be at the mercy of her ex to "do the right thing" since she chose not to close the account when it was PIF (I'm not judging her decision... just stating how it works where I am).

 

Unless the ex has an income (or the resources) that allow him to 'cough up' $17k on a moment's notice - and he likely doesn't or else he wouldn't be revolving $17k to begin with - it might be best to not 'rock the boat'.  Your DW will have to predict how he would react to a sudden or forced closure... if he's the spiteful type he could decide to drop the entire thing in her lap.

 

Even if you find a willing attorney to help out, by the time it gets to a judge the damage will be done so it would be a Pyrrhic victory at best, and that's assuming you won (further, even with a judgement if the man is broke the judgement isn't worth much).  The interwebs are full of stories where one spouse had a court order to pay on a joint debt but didn't, and by the time it got back before the judge the damage was done (as it's already been said, the credit issuers aren't bound by a divorce decree).

 

All that said, in my humble opinion the most favorable solution at this time (assuming he can't/won't PIF) is to close the account in an amicable way (try to put a positive spin on it if possible, i.e. you're "helping him out").  As far as getting him to agree in writing to pay anything you can try, but he's likely to tell you to pound sand so I would be hesitant to bring that up.  As much as it pains me to say it, the ex is holding all the cards in this situation so it's best to avoid antagonizing him if at all possible.

 

Side note:  While I'm glad things have worked out with DW's utilization and 'padding', with all of this going on I'm hoping that's the least of her concerns.


I  agree with you 100%.  I only know what exhusband is like from DW so no way I can predict how he will react if the account is closed.  dW says she really dosn't have a clue either.  Since he pays every month, I would assume he would keep doing that, but who knows.   And if her were to die DW would be responsible. 

 

DW realizes she should have delt with it long ago when it wasn't an issue, or at least 6 years ago when she refied the house and her loan officer told her it should be closed.   At the time of the refi  there was less than $100 balance.   This seems to be the one credit mistake she has ever made all because she dosen't like conflict. 

 

Even though DW would like to close out the 0 balance card, I'm not sure if she should or not if he dosen't close the other one. 


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Message 6 of 13
Valued Contributor

Re: Joint Account Issue

Closing the joint account with a zero balance is probably the smart move especially if she’s going to close the other card on her ex. Since he’s on the zero balance card, He can call the credit card company and get a card issued in his name then proceed to charge that one up to compensate for his lost credit line.

He might not even realize the zero balance account is open




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FICO 8 scores 04/2019
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Message 7 of 13
Established Member

Re: Joint Account Issue

If the Ex has good credit see if he can do a balance transfer of most (if not all) of the balance to his own personal card(s) to minimize some of the utilazation. If that can get the balance to $5K or less I would consider paying it with a notorized promissory note (because $5K in the max in small claims court). I'm sure you don't want to spend thousands in a civil trial if things can be done amicably. Once the balance is zeroed out I'm sure it would be a lot easier to get removed from the card and any future obligations to it.

Message 8 of 13
Established Contributor

Re: Joint Account Issue

I agree with @

 










Message 9 of 13
Senior Contributor

Re: Joint Account Issue - Update

Last Oct DW told her exhusband he had until day after Thanksgiving  to take care of it or she would close the account and she expected him to pay it off.   He didn't  do anything so she closed both accounts and he stopped paying.  Her scores are currently in mid 600s due to him not paying this account.  At the time she closed the account I tried to contact  him to dicuss it, but he wouldn't answer the phone or return my call.

 

We are on a trip right now and as we were leaving the hotel for dinner I realized I forgot my phone. So I go back to get my phone, as I enter the room my phone is ringing. I didn't get to it in time, but DWs exhusband left a message saying the account would be paid off within the next week and that I should Fico off and never contact him again. 

 

I hope its true he is paying it off, and once it is DWs goodwill campaign can begin.  


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Message 10 of 13
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