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How do I get credit bureaus to remove an item from my credit report?

Tacoma, WA |

I recently took my ex-husband back to court to enforce the original divorce decree. Judge ruled for him to sign a full assumption agreement to remove my name off of a mortgage loan for the home he was awarded during the divorce. He has signed an assumption agreement however the bank will not modify the loan because he had defaulted on it over a year ago and cant get re-financed. The bank will not allow me to make any decisions on the loan because they said it's not my property. I'm military overseas and they can't foreclose. Credit bureaus wont recognize the court orders and they won't remove the account off my credit report. So now what do I do to get out of this mess? Ex has no intentions of foreclosing or selling, he wont communicate with bank.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You seem to believe that the divorce court has some power over the credit bureaus and over the creditors. They don't! The divorce court only has authority over you and your ex-spouse. Under these circumstances, I regret to say that it appears that you have no remedy in this situation. Hope this perspective helps!

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2 comments

James Henry MaGee

James Henry MaGee

Posted

Thanks for reaching out to this poster who is in the military service of our country. I was disappointed that nobody else has reached out besides Ms. Bunce. But really no remedy? Here is what I was thinking: How about if she goes back to the family law court and asks that the decree be modified to force the sale of the home since the economic downturn in housing prices is an unforseen circumstance that made the refi of the home not possible and thus the decree has encountered some unexpected circumstances which make its execution not possible. If there are no dependents of the marriage living in the home then it should not be that big of a deal to at least ask - and there may be a chance of it actually being granted. Also, if it isn't granted on the first time through, how about a "drop dead" or "strict compliance" provision in a modified divorce decree that says if he falls more than 60 days delinquent or more than 30 days delinquent (point at which I think it is usually reported to credit bureaus) in any twelve month period then the wife can apply for an order directing sale. I congratulate on achieving a Level 20 as it takes many, many posts to achieve that lofty status and I am so glad for support of Avvo.com (I am barely a Level 6).. But I thought about this poster's dilemma for a moment and I think there is a way to remedy it (eventually) through family law court. Sadly, this soldier has already learned the hard way that the divorce court doesn't have any power over the credit bureau and over the creditors. She is posting in a bankruptcy forum to see whether bankruptcy might help, does it not seem that way? I appreciate the reponse for this poster, so maybe Ms. Bunce and I can agree that the best solution is to refer her to a top-notch local family law attorney who can sugget how far the local family law court might go in forcing a sale for a chronically defaulting co-borrower. - James H. MaGee Washington Bankruptcy Attorney, 253 383 1001 Offices in Tacoma, Puyallup and Olympia

Dorothy G Bunce

Dorothy G Bunce

Posted

My past experience with the family courts is that they will bark but will not really bite to enforce orders regarding debt refinancing. Which is one of the reasons why I now refuse to accept family law cases.

Posted

Hello, I am so very sorry for your situation. Family law, bankruptcy and credit reports often collide with unsatisfactory results. Your factual situation is detailed, thought out and well written. Here is the best that I have to offer, although I fear that it is not much...

First, you may have to seek modification of the divorce decree to force sale of the residence. I don't know who your attorney is, but I have had good luck with Charles Schmit, Wendy Zicht, Lynn Johnson and Barb MacInveilgh (always misspell her name, but she works with Robert Helland) and Hillary Holmes in Puyallup is great, too. Maybe consult with one of them if you are trying to do this yourself or if you are not sure about the efficacy of your current legal respresentation. I think you should perhaps re-post on AVVO under family law topics.....

Second, as much as you might not want to - consider bankruptcy if your income is low enough to permit it. Then you are technically "freed" from the mortgage obligation and it is no longer a personal "obligation" such that perhaps you can dispute it should it show up on your credit report as an obligation other than "discharged in bankruptcy".

Third, you could "dispute" it to both the credit bureaus and to the mortgage lender/servicer (must be in writing) and see if that helps in any fashion, but I expect that while they may expunge it temporarily from your record they may just end up sticking it back on there under the dispute provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. There is a great book put out by the National Consumer Law Center www.consumerlaw.org about the Fair Credit Reporting Act - it is probably $100, but if you can afford it, it could help you craft a good debt dispute letter. They have a number of awsome titles, but this is probably the most relevant one to your situation. Free shipping, too! (Except I don't know if it would be free to an overseas address). You could also email them and see if they have a us military rate or something special. It is a great organization. Their Student Loan Law book is superb ....

I am so sorry that you are going through this while you dutifully serve in the interests of our country.

If you have other debts bothering you too, I would be happy to consult with you about a bankruptcy filing. Even though you are overseas I have had some luck in getting bankruptcy cases approved under similar circumstances. I take it that JBLM is your "home base"....

Best wishes,

James H. MaGee
Washington Bankruptcy Attorney
Offices in Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia and Renton
253-383-1001

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Posted

Mr. MaGee, I appreciate your helpful advice and thank you for the kind words. Bankruptcy is definitely not an option, I'm an Army intel officer, I would have serious explaining to do for my clearance. Plus, I don't have a low income, I own two other investment properties with excellent records, and I don't have any credit debt as of two years ago, Wahooo!! I will talk to my previous attorney about the possibility to modify the decree to sell the home, but again that just drags me through the foreclosure or short sale with no say during the process. I sent all the new legal documents to the credit agencies and only one has deleted the account- I don't understand why Transuion would be willing to do that, but the other 2 won't? Aren't they all governerd by the same policies? I've hit a brick wall and the sad thing about it is, I've been in 15 years and as my retirement approaches, my dream of purcahsing a nice retirement home to finally settle down with my husnad and two young kids is dissapearing, since I doubt any bank would consider giving me a loan at a decent rate with this on my record. All this mess because of a lousy 7 month marriage almost 6 years ago to a horrible local politician! Thanks again! God bless.

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