After viewing my credit report, I saw that there are addresses where I have never lived. They are addresses of my ex-husband. How did they get on my report?
Your Experian credit report displays a history of all the addresses that are reported to us by your creditors. Your creditors may report any address where you have received mail and any address associated with an account that has your name on it.
If you had joint accounts with your ex-spouse while you were married and have not contacted the lender to have your name removed or the account closed, those accounts will still appear active on your credit report, and the lender will report any new addresses associated with the account. The same applies for accounts where you may still be listed as an authorized user.
How Can I Separate Credit Accounts I Had With My Ex?
Because authorized users are not responsible for repaying the debt on an account, upon request, lenders typically will remove your name from any account where you are an authorized user. However, when it comes to a joint account, getting divorced doesn't automatically remove your responsibility for the debt.
It's a common myth that a divorce decree dissolves a person's liability for a debt if the judge says they're no longer responsible for paying it. The reality is that a divorce decree does not alter or nullify the original contract with the lender. Once you become a joint account holder, you are contractually responsible for it unless your name is removed by the lender or the account is closed.
Review your credit report carefully and take inventory of any accounts where you are listed as a joint account holder or a cosigner. If you see an account that you believe is the sole responsibility of your ex-spouse, contact the lender to notify them of the divorce. In some cases, the creditor may agree to remove your name from the account if your ex-spouse has assumed responsibility for it. In others, the account may need to be paid off first and then closed.
If there is a mortgage loan or a car loan in both of your names and your ex-spouse plans to keep the home or vehicle, the loan will need to be refinanced in their name only in order to remove you from the debt. If your ex-spouse is unable to qualify to refinance the loan in their name alone, it's best to work together with them to pay off the loan as soon as possible. As long as the debt remains in both of your names, any outstanding balance or future missed payments will impact your credit as well as theirs.
Address Information Has No Impact on Your Credit Scores
Even if a lender is unable to remove you as a responsible party for a debt that is billed to your ex-spouse, rest assured that their addresses have no effect on your creditworthiness or credit scores. Your current and previous address information is simply a record of the addresses listed on any accounts you are associated with.
If you believe an address was reported in error, you can dispute the information directly with Experian.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist