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Topics addressed on December 12, 2007:
Divorce decree will not remove property debt from your report
How do I get a property that was awarded to my ex-spouse off of my credit record?
One of the most common myths about credit reports is that a divorce decree takes away your responsibility for the debt and causes it to be removed from your credit report. Unfortunately, that is not true.
A divorce decree is simply an agreement between you, your ex-spouse and the court about who will pay the debt. The divorce decree does not change the contract with the lender. If your ex-spouse stops paying the bill, he or she is in violation of the divorce decree, but the lender can still collect the debt from you because the contract making you a joint account holder has not been changed.
In order to have the account information deleted, you will need to re-negotiate the contract with the lender. Only the lender can agree to alter the original contract so that you are no longer responsible for the debt.
Once the lender has done that, it can have the account removed from your credit history.
The only other way to manage the debt is to work with your ex-spouse to pay it off and close it, if that is at all possible. By doing so, the account won’t be removed immediately, but there won’t be any risk of hurting your credit history.
I am very sorry that you are having to deal with this difficult situation, but I am glad that you are taking the necessary action to completely separate your financial obligations.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team