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

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.

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?

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Attorney answers 3


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 intended or formed by the posting of this answer. Law Office of Lisa J. Espada * San Francisco, CA * (415) 504-6195


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. However, more fact may be required by your local attorney. If you are in Las Vegas, you are welcome to send your questions regarding Chapter 7, or 13 to Attorney Malik Ahmad at or or by calling (702) 270-9100. In many cases, we do not charge initial consultation fee.


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

A restraining order could be obtained against your ex - but do you really want to spend the money to get it? I guess I would not feel lawyerly unless I wrote a disclaimer to this answer - after all, that is what we lawyers are trained to do. So here it is. Disclaimer: Trying to provide a complete answer to a brief question without meeting the questioner and without getting all the facts is much like internet dating. Despite what you have been told by the person you have met online (and they tend to always put everything in the best light for themselves), once you meet them face to face you realize how much has been left out. People tend to bend the facts and there is always the other side to the story. So, this answer is about as valuable as the price that was paid for it. It should not be considered legal advice. It is meant as a general overview of how the law could apply to a very broad set of facts that may not have any applicability to the actual circumstances of the person making the question. It is hoped to provide some understanding of the broad field of law that could come into play. No attorney-client relationship has been formed with the questioner and no attorney client relationship was ever anticipated by my response to this question. I would also like to remind you that I am only licensed in the State of California, and the answer provided is based upon my knowledge of California law.