I’m a Victim of Credit Fraud By My Husband. We Are Now Divorced. – Bobbi


“Dear Steve,

Divorced and stuck with huge debt from marriage.

What is the best way for me to get out of debt and have decent credit again?

I was married to a “spender” who tricked me so many times – getting loans and credit cards under my name without asking me, made himself an “authorized user” and maxed out everything.

After I finally left him, got steady job, saved money little by little and paid off 4 smaller ones. I’m not getting pennies from my ex even most of them are his expenses (he didn’t earn, but spent a lot for 2 years). I still have over $50,000 left to go, everything is under my shoulder since authorized user doesn’t mean anything to credit people.

I’d really like to avoid Bankruptcy if I could, but the amount I owe is more than I make in whole year and I just don’t know what to do. I’m also stuck with car payment that is making my Ex’s credit better. I’ve already wasted so much money on him.

I’d like to start saving money for retirement, or be able to buy house some day – he also cleaned up my retirement from previous job and I’m almost 40! I pay everything cash now and do not have any credit card or loan. I don’t buy anything I don’t need and saving my pennies. But because of this huge debt, my credit is so bad I can’t even get a loan from my own company’s credit union. I’m not dreaming that everything will go away in year or so, but I don’t want to suffer from this forever. Please help.


Dear Bobbi,

I am so sorry to hear about the credit fraud by your ex-husband. Sadly, that’s not the first time, nor the 100th time I’ve heard of such a situation.

Basically he has created a huge financial mess, that he benefited from, and has left you to clean up. You could always go after him through the courts for repayment but that is going to cost you money.

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Ironically the best solution for this is the one that feels the least logically to you, bankruptcy. If you go bankrupt you can put an end to these debts and then begin to rebuild your credit. In a few years you will be back in good shape.

If you do not declare bankruptcy then you will be making payments on this debt for years and years and then work to rebuild your credit. Ironically bankruptcy is probably the most expedient way to repair your credit the fastest.

Sure, bankruptcy will be reported on your credit report for seven to ten years but that is the smaller issue. The larger issue is that you won’t be able to close the door on these debts and rebuild good credit without closing the door.

This issue about his fraudulent application for credit and making himself an authorized user is a matter that you should have pursued with criminal charges when you first found out about it. As a fraud victim the debt would have been removed from your responsibility. The hard part is that you would have had to cooperate, at that time, with the legal system to charge and prosecute your then husband.

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The authorized user approach was crafty on his part. He probably assumed that you would not charge him with a crime. If you didn’t he could walk away and the debt was all in your name. He left you holding the debt and he did it with forethought and malice.

Let me guess, was he a bad boy and you were trying to fix him? It sounds like you are a giver and he was just a taker. And he took alright.

Since it sounds like a lot of time has passed since you first found out I think the current creditor argument is going to be that you have since accepted responsibility for this debt and it is now your responsibility. If you don’t agree, I urge you to go and meet with a local attorney to discuss this matter.

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Bankruptcy would also shed the car payment for the ex as well. An emotional bonus for you maybe?

Before you decide if bankruptcy is or is not right for you, please call a local bankruptcy attorney and schedule a free bankruptcy consultation to educate yourself about your situation and bankruptcy.

Let me know what you decide to do. Please.

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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.
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