Ex-husband tried to transfer $10,000 debt to me by giving my name to collection agency and possibly hospital and hold me liable

Asked about 1 year ago - San Francisco, CA

My ex-husband incurred a $10,000 medical bill from 3 years ago. I recently found out that the collection agency had my name and were trying to collect the debt from me. We have been divorced since 2007. This isn't the first time that I have been contacted to try to collect a debt that he incurred. What can I do to verify if he is giving my name out and saying that I am financially reliable? Is this a crime? This affects my credit history, credit score and could affect any future financial decisions I make that may rely on my credit standing.

Additional information

How can i prove that he is doing this on purpose? Can I request conversation scripts from the collection agency or signed documents from the hospital that it states my name as the person financially liable?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Lisa Jane Espada

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is unlikely that the collection efforts are being made because of statements by your ex husband to the effect that you are responsible for payment of these bills. It seems more likely that the creditors or collectors have been unsuccessful in finding your ex or in getting any payment from him, and now they may be looking for other sources of payment. They may have located information indicating that seems to indicate that the the two of you were married at the time the debt was incurred. So the creditors may believe that there may be community property available to pay the debt.

    Start by getting information from each creditor that contacts you: who is the creditor, who is the collector, where are they located, when was the debt incurred, what is the amount, etc. If you can get the collector's physical address, make a written request for debt validation. (Information about this can be found on many websites including the US Federal Trade Commission's site, and here on Avvo.)

    The creditor or collector should then send you information in writing regarding the debt. If it turns out that the debt was incurred by your ex husband after you were separated or divorced, you could respond to the collection by providing the date of your separation or divorce, and your position that you are in no way responsible for his debt. (No need to provide your divorce decree, marital settlement agreement, court order, or any other personal information.) If collection efforts persist after that, you should then probably contact a consumer attorney in your area to give you further advice.

    This answer is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is... more
  2. Douglas Charles Michie


    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I doubt this is on your credit report - you can check with free copies at annualcreditreport.com.

    A restraining order could be obtained against your ex - but do you really want to spend the money to get it?

    www.michielawfirm.com I guess I would not feel lawyerly unless I wrote a disclaimer to this answer - after all,... more
  3. Malik W. Ahmad

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Attorney Espada had given you an excellent advice. The collection agency has their own mechanism to verify debts and do not start collections based on outside information. However, send a simple letter explaining your divorce situation, possibly sending them a copy of divorce, deleting all the important material information with the exception of divorce date, and asking them to rectify it. Once they do it, ask to get a copy and send to all the credit bureaus.

    Only see a licensed attorney before you make any decision. This answer may not be perfect in any given situation.... more

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