How Do I Make the Collector Go After My Ex-Husband For His Debts Instead of Me? – Sarah

“Dear Steve,

I have made mistakes in the past with bills. I really didn’t care about my credit. I am now 32 and have a credit score of 545 and have woke up to my stupid past.

I have 14 derogatory things on my credit report. Most of them are not even over 300. I am making payments on 4 different collection accounts that is costing me about 200 every two weeks. I am divorced and now having to pay for me and my ex-husbands mistakes. Which is fine I understand I should have to but shouldn’t he have to also?

The collection accounts say I am resposible for every thing he did even when we were not living together. For example I made arangements with an agency that had multiple accounts of ours together but one of them was from when we were separated for a payday loan for 1000 that was just in his name they say that I have to pay it or they will garnish my wages.

Since I am a single mom and have had that done before I know I can’t afford to have it happen again I agreed to pay. I gave them all of his information but it doesn’t matter. A lot of the collection accounts on my report just say collection but doesn’t state who its from. They have a balance but say closed. What does that mean?

I know I have made mistakes but I am trying to make it right! Should I contact the remaining accounts even if they have a low balance? If they are already closed will it hurt me more to reopen them? I heard it hurts your credit more to pay them. I feel like I have broken a mirror and now get 7 years bad luck from when I started to make it right.

I am just confused I don’t want to have to go to instant credit places anymore! They take advantage of people like me. How do I make them go after my ex? I can’t sue him he doesn’t have anything to take. Over 10 years I left him 3 times until I finally gave up and got divorced. And now I have to keep paying for the mistakes while he gets off scott free! I am so upset and don’t know which way to turn!

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How do I raise my credit score when everything is in collection?


Dear Sarah,

Unfortunately with the current debts you are paying on there isn’t a lot you can do. If you EVER get a collection notice about you do not recognize or is not yours, you should immediately respond to the debt collector in writing by some sort of traceable means and ask them to provide you with evidence that this is your debt. If you don’t dispute the debt and start making payments on it, you are assuming responsibility by your actions.

I’m sorry to say that the debt collector most likely lied to you on the payday loan debt and scared you into paying the debt when it wasn’t yours. Why did he do that? Because he could. He probably went after your ex first and then tried to scare you to see if he could get money out of you.

At this point I think you should focus on those debts you’ve already agreed to pay and make sure you full resolve those issues. Also, ask the collection agency for some proof that the debt was paid in full when you make your last payment. Collection agencies are horrible about updating credit reports to show that the debt is now paid.

I’d tackle the remanning debts using the debt snowball approach. You can click on the debt snowball link for details about how that works.

It is great that you are closing the door on these old debts by paying them off but your credit report and credit score are not going to improve until you get back into the credit game and start adding new good credit to your credit report.

If your report card is full of Cs you are not going to raise your grade until you start to pull it up with some As.

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The best way to get credit when you have a bad credit is to look for a secured credit card that will report to the credit bureaus. A secured card is available to most people, regardless of credit scores, because the line of credit is secured with an interest bearing account at the bank that issues the card.

I think if you follow all of the information above that you will find you score to be much higher in a year.


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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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