01 Jun Bankruptcy, Divorce and Credit Reports!
Unfortunately when married couples divorce, many issues arise. Divorce attorneys and bankruptcy attorneys know this all too well. Routinely, the couple’s finances are inextricably intertwined and neither has the ability to buy the other out. That means some joint obligations will fall into the hands of only one person.
Credit issues are normally not discussed when the property is being divided up or the visitation schedule is open for negotiation. The issue of credit reports should be discussed as well as what will happen if either the husband or the wife does not hold up his end of the bargain and for some reason or another files for bankruptcy. Now, the cat has really been let out of the bag, because your credit future becomes much more important once you are back on your own.
As a bankruptcy attorney, I see these issues on a daily basis. How does the non-bankruptcy-filing spouse clean up his/her credit report after the divorce when there are joint obligations which still need to be satisfied? Good question.
First, you need to get a copy of all three credit reports from Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. (I always suggest writing for them because the websites have arbitration provisions which just rub me the wrong way. I still believe in the Constitutional right to a jury trial.) Some debts may not be reported on all three. Take the time to review them carefully and understand what the credit reports are saying. Each debt should be approached, looked at carefully and disputed, if necessary.
Second, when it comes to disputing the debts, use any and all documentation that you have at your disposal to correct the information on your credit reports. But note: If your spouse was ordered by the court to pay for a joint obligation and failed to do so, the creditor can and will report the negative information against you because the marital separation agreement does not remove your signature from the contract that you signed. Remember, the creditor doesn’t really care who was supposed to pay the obligation, and the creditor was not a party to the marital settlement agreement, and therefore, is not bound by it.
Third, write out your disputes clearly. If you have any doubts about the letter, let someone proof-read it. Then, mail the letters certified mail, return receipt requested. Once you receive the green cards, hold onto them. You may also want to send a copy of the dispute directly to the creditor who posted the entry on your credit report. Mail the letter and supporting documents the same way.
Remember that this will take time and you should not stop disputing the information on your credit report until you get the desired results. Good luck
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