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credit card use of ex spouse

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What is the name of your state? CA
I recently checked my credit with the three major credit reporters I found that there was a Discover card that was joint with my ex spouse had been left open and not closed when we were separated in 1997 or when we were divorced in 1998.
We were expected to close all joint accounts and put the proper name and resposibility on any other accounts opened after that time period, since we were not legally together. Discover card at the time of separation had zero balance.
From the credit report it states that in 9/2000 that he let discover know that his card was "lost or stolen" and they closed that account, but opened up a new one (10/2000) for him but kept the responsibility joint with my name. He became delinquent on the account three times this year Jan. Feb. and March of 2002. After May of this year he says he realized that it was joint and closed that it and opened a new account joint with his and his new wife's name. Too little too late.
This is ruining my excellent credit. Discover says that I cannot change it and that I was considered Jointly responsible of that account, even though I was divorced and not aware that the original account wasn't closed until 9/2000 and that they issued him a new card in 10/2000 with a new account number.
I believe he did this purposefully because at the time he was considering bankruptcy and counldn't get a card on his own credit. What can I do ?


Senior Member
Your post said that you were divorced in 1998 and that "we were expected to close all joint accounts and put the proper name and resposibility on any other accounts opened after that time period". Expected by whom?? Was this a part of the formal divorce decree??

Also, you need to realize that your divorce order has NO impact on creditors to existing accounts. They granted JOINT credit and your 'separate liability' by divorce doesn't change that. The only way that you can be legally removed from direct liability is to pay off the account and to close it in writing and destroy the cards.

So, if these accounts were in fact, 'zeroed and closed', then your liability ended there. If you left them open (or with a balance) and just 'trusted' him to do right... you are still directly liable. However, you could then pursue the 'ex' due to either contempt of the family court order, or by separate lawsuit.

As for the 'new' account that was opened with your name 'transferred' to it without your permission, contact the credit card company and advise them of that fact. If this was in fact a new account, then they had not authority to put your name on it and would have to remove it (possibly fraudulent if he said to use your name). I suggest you contact the creditor and get the facts on this one.... in writing.


latest developments

Well there are some pretty tacky things I found out...
First: it was not part of the divorce decree that dictated the separation of names from accounts...at the time the property separation was done he did not disclose the account, my card was destroyed and information on the account was dropped out of the property settlement because at the time he said there was no balance (there was, in fact a $4.00 balance - a debt that he assumed in the property settlement. He moved the account to his new mailing address and no statement ever appeared again...until it showed up on the credit report. Unfortunate.
Second: I spoke with the card company and they sent a card in my name to his address when he reported his card lost or stolen two years later. They didn't change the account per se - just the number. The card company kept the account joint and sent both cards to his address - he was delivered notice at that time that I was still on the account due to the fact there was a card in his hands that had my name on it. He had to revive that account in any case because his credit was bad and he couldn't get credit anywhere else, until he remembered the account he never closed as per the agreement - based on common practice - at the time of property division between us (with respect to joint accounts).
Last - and almost disgusting of all: When he revived the account, he transferred three balances to it. After that he charged $3600.00 for a quickie Vegas wedding, at an expensive resort for him and his new wife. Then after that went late on the payments beginning in August 2001, such that he became :mad: DELINQUENT:mad: on three separate occasions in the first three months of 2002. He then magically paid it off and closed it - I guess figuring I'd never know that I financed his second wedding and now have to deal with the wave of bad credit choices he made.
Is this Fraud? Defamation? some kind of breach of the separation agreement that resulted in financial damage? maybe a failure in listing the property or debt by the primary holder (even with his statement that there was a $0 current balance)?

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