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My Husband is a Liar, Cheat and Thief and Spent Our Equity Line of Credit Without Telling Me

“Dear Steve,

I habe been married for 8 years. I got the mail recently and found the account summary for our Equity Line of Credit. All but 3500.00 of the 50,000 has been taken by my husband for the last 4 years. he has only been paying the 167.00 interest payment.

I was shocked for he never told me he was borrowing any of it. Last July I asked to go to the bank and get an 8200.00 loan to pay off a credit card that I used to pay for college. He said no, I’ll lend you the 8200.00 without interest but you have to pay me 600.00 a month to pay me back.

I made the last payment to him last week. Yesterday I went to the bank where our mortgage is held and opened my own checking account and moved the remaining 3500.00 to my account.

The female loan officer was very understanding and shocked for me. She showed me the Equity Line history and the 600.00 I paid him for the last twelve months was not repaid to the account. Just the minimum 167.00.

I am wary to confront him about the account. For he has hidden it so well for so many years. We filed our taxes jointly for the first time this year and he didn’t even mention the 2000.00 interest paid to the tax preparer??? THAT’s how much he is hiding it.

Furthermore, I am aware that to get spousal Social Security/Railroad Retirement benefits one must be married ten consequtive years. I want to hold out for that (like an indentured servant-I know pathetic huh?) as I do not have any savings or retirement fund of my own.

I want to use my head in this matter instead of my heart. This marriage has become more of a marriage of convenience.

Living in these conditions with a deceitful secretive person makes me wonder what else he is hiding?

My question…what preparations should I take to remedy this situation?

I am somewhat afraid to confront him with this knowledge—as he can be quite explosive…I plan on confronting him in front of a marriage counselor next week so I won’t be alone. When I confront him with this, do you have a suggestion I can give him to pay back the Equity? PLUS isn’t an Equity line suppose to be used to improve the house????”

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The Answer

That’s a horrible situation.

An equity line of credit can be used for anything, it just encumbers the equity in your home with a loan.

Since you moved the remaining $3,500 out, just bear in mind he may find out about that before your intervention.

When you confront him my primary question would be what he spent all the money on that has gone missing. Could it be gambling, drugs, or some other vice? If so you’ll really need to focus on that first.

How will he pay it back? Well that’s really going to be a function of his available income. Paying it back is fairly straight forward, just pay $1,000 a month for the next 50 months. I doubt he’ll be able to do that but let’s see.

I strongly suggest you check a copy of your consolidated credit report before your meeting next week. You need to look and see if there are any other accounts opened in your name that you might not be aware of.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

Big Hug!

My Husband is a Liar, Cheat and Thief and Spent Our Equity Line of Credit Without Telling Me
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • B

    Thank you for reply. The day before the meeting I got some of his papers from his drawers (that of which I was NEVER to look in or touch)…I gathered “ransom” for negotiating leverage. I took all the paperwork I could find (HIS checking account summaries-sentimental things- any car keys to his cars.)car titles. I put it in a rented locked storage unit.
    When we were suppose to go to the appt. he called and said he wasn’t coming.
    I told him he probably should show up as I had taken his things. At that very moment he pulled up to the counselor office. I ran into the office.
    We had our confrontation. He insisted in front of the counselor that I knew about it. I was wrong about him not writing it off on the taxes as he said that is why he did it. To offset his railroad taxes. Having heard that explanation, I asked, well then…where is the money? Why have you not paid any back? In 3 years…he has made a couple of deposits toward principle. When he found out I took 3550.00 from the account he demanded I put it back. HA! uh …no. You need to put back at least 22,000.00 to give me a chance to “use” our equity the way I think it should be used.
    If I am to look at this marriage as a business…at this point…HE is a very BAD business partner.
    This is a possible solution? Tell me what you think.
    I have always paid half of the mortgage. If I deposit that into a seperate savings account in my name only—until at least 25,000.00 is replaced I think that is a partial solution. I want to get back at least half of the equity,as that is “fair?’. I am 13 years older than my spouse…55 years old. I don’t have a lot of earning years left. Or time to make a retirement fund. In these bad economic times I need SOMETHING!
    p.s. I caved…I returned all of the “ransom”…without using it to motivate him.

    PLUS you said…Could it be gambling, drugs, or some other vice? If so you’ll really need to focus on that first. Why focus on that first? I think he needs to return the money. I looked at his checking accounts and every month he withdraws 700.00 to 1000.00 in cash…NOW he needs to put that CASH back into the EQUITY. or a savings account. and I won’t pay any mortgage payments. I had to pay him 1400.00 a month for the last year. If I did it…and went without…HE can do it and go without too. IF he won’t agree to these terms…then what?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Why focus on that first? Because if you don’t the hole that the money is continuing down will stay open. People with drug, gambling or other addictions, if untreated will simply find new ways to feed that fix. You need to resolve the underlying reason first and recognize that the debt and spending are merely the symptom of that problem.

      I get the plan you are talking about and it is a good way to make sure part of the debt can be repaid but if this is a joint account you are both liable for the entire debt, not just what you may feel is “your half” of it. You could pay back what you feel is your half but if he defaults on the remaining balance the bank will still come after you also.

      Steve

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