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Hello, we are new to the forum and are hoping to get help. My boyfriend and I are planning to get married, but first we want to catch up on his debts. We have lots of questions about where to start, so we apologize for such a long post. He has about $15000 in debt. Most of which is in collection, but a few are still with the original creditor. Most of the debt is Medical and Auto Loan/Lease related. In addition, there are some credit card, utilities, public transit and parking fines, all in collection. We already have a plan to pay this off by the end of 2009. We have prioritized the debt that is accruing interest first, followed by the newest to oldest debt. Currently none of these creditors/CAs are actively contacting him. We live in Colorado, however his debt is from when he lived in Illinois & Colorado. Now that you have the histor…let’s start with the questions.

Our first question is related to the affects on my credit. If we haven’t paid off his debt by the time we get married, how does that affect my credit? Can the creditors/CAs come after me? In the future can we just obtain credit under my name and not his? Or once we are married would they look at both our credit history?

Here is our plan based on what we have read on this site so far. Once we have saved enough money to pay off a particular creditor/CA, we will initiate contact. For original creditors we plan to contact them by phone and see what they are willing to negotiate and then send a debt settlement Letter. (Note, all mail to creditors/CAs will be sent certified/return receipt.) For CA’s, we will contact them via a DV Letter. After we receive their response, we will respond back with a Debt Settlement Letter. How do we know what the settlement should be? Will they send back a settlement recommendation with the DV response? Or after the DV should we contact them via letter requesting a particular settlement? Or should we just propose in the Debt Settlement Letter? In a Settlement Letter if we state “the payment will result in complete discharge of the debt” does that mean they have to remove it entirely from his credit history? We are also very confused on SOL. Is it appropriate to ask the CA in the DV Letter to prove the SOL has not expired? Also, is it appropriate to request verification or a copy of any judgment in a DV?

Is this the right approach? Have we missed anything? Are we crazy for paying all of this off when the creditors/CAs aren’t even trying to contact him?

Thanks so much for all of your help. And we promise to update the forum with what we learn through this process.

You are off to a good start and you have come to the right place. There alot of people on here that will give you great advice. It sounds like you have done your homework and you must have read the DIY section.

I know in my case my credit situation (which was in poor condition when I got married) did not affect my husbands. The house we bought was with his credit, I was only listed on the deed because I was his spouse, the old saying goes "it takes one to buy but two to sell" is true.

I don't know if you have already done this or not but pull all 3 credit bureau reports to make sure that everything is accurate. I wouldn't say that you are crazy for trying to pay anything off, just make sure it doesn't reset the clock or reage the debt. If it close to the statute of limitations for it to fall off I would just let it go, (that is my opinion only)...good luck

Hang in there and someone else will be along.

Sub: #1 posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 09:51

ladybug ladybug

(Posts: 2757 | Credits: 282.45)

Personally, I think you are a fool for paying off the debts of your boyfriend. I have a feeling that when the debt is gone and the shine has worn off the relationship you will be short a bunch of money and a boyfriend.

Never pay the debts of your boyfriend until you are husband and wife. Then attack the debts.

I would personally pile up the cash in anticipation of paying the debts off after the wedding. Once you are married, send them the payment day 1.


Sub: #2 posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 17:30


First, because you have never/do not live in a community property state, you will never be responsible for your husband's individual debts. They cannot come after you just because you're married, and they cannot report on your credit. (The only ramification is that if he dies while he still owes the debt, then they can sue "his estate" in probate and get paid before any of his assets are passed on to you).

After you're married, you will both continue to have separate credit files, and you can still incur debt "on your own" and apart from each other. The only times you will both be responsible for a debt, is when you both sign as joint debtors.

When ever you do apply for new credit, Regulation B specifically states that they cannot force you both to sign just because they know you're married. However, if you apply individually, then you can't throw your husband's income into the mix -- so they will approve or deny your credit application based solely on your own qualifying factors and ability to repay. In essence, if you are individually taking on the credit of two people, then your debt-to-income ratio may spike out (or too many new accounts), and will give them reason to turn down your application.

I admire your commitment to pay this all back. I think it's a good plan to start off your marriage without the burdens of another person's debt. See, all those debts may be "dormant" now and not calling him, but sooner or later the beast will awaken. If you share a joint checking account and put your money into it, they may be able to get a judgment against your husband and seize that bank account later on in life.

Your plan almost exactly mimics how I got out of debt several years ago. My creditors weren't calling me at all, but I just wanted to pay it so if wouldn't come back later. I saved up my money, and one by one I called and settled with each of them.

Most of these places will not out-right offer you a settlement - after all, they want to get paid-in-full. It will be up to you to propose a settlement and see if they accept. How much they will accept really depends on how old it is and their policies. I would say 75-85% is usually a good number that they will jump at, anything less will take haggling.

You could also propose in the settlement how the outcome will affect his credit. Maybe they will agree to remove it entirely, or else they may report "Paid Collection" or "Settled for Less Than Full Balance". My own company policy is that we will only agree to delete the tradeline if you pay in full -- if you want to settle then we will report that fact to the bureaus.

DV's are good for the CA's. You can ask about proving SOL, but they really aren't required to do that unless they were actually suing you.

Sub: #3 posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 19:27

DebtCruncher DebtCruncher
(Posts: 2296 | Credits: 269.79)

Thanks for all the feedback and information. As we are starting to mail out our first round of letters, we are noticing some of our CAs are not listed on the Creditor Database. How should I submit their names and addresses so other people have access to the information in the future? Also, once we hear back from them, I'll be glad to share that experience as well.

Thanks Again!

Sub: #4 posted on Sat, 04/26/2008 - 04:42


Contact information for each CA reporting on your credit report should be listed on the report. If it's not listed in the individual tradeline, look down at the bottom of the report. If all else fails, give us the names. We'll find you the contact details.

Sub: #5 posted on Sun, 04/27/2008 - 19:33

unclewulf unclewulf
(Posts: 3173 | Credits: 315.03)

When we started this process, I never dreamed it would be so difficult to give people money. We have sent out 6 DV or debt settlement letters so far only 2 have responded.

I have been reading about the timing of DV on the site. We are actively pursuing paying these companies off. If they have sent us letters in the past, we did not receive them...but to be honest we have been terrible about having mail fowarded as we have moved. If we exceeded their 30 day notice because we did not receive their initial request, do they still have to provide us with verification? We currently live in Colorado and the debt was from residencies in Colorado, Illinois & Indiana. The one I'm currently working on is a Colorado debt to CA - Business Revenue Systems. We sent the original DV letter on APRIL 30th. The original letter did not give them a timeline to respond, I believe in the future I will give companies only 30 days.

We were planning to follow up with the letter below. Is this appropriate even though they may have previously sent a letter giving us 30 days to verify the debt?

Re: Acct Ref. # XXXXX

Dear Sir/Madam,
I sent you a request to validate my debt, account no: XXXXX on April 30, 2008.
According to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (fdcpa), I have the right to claim a validation of the debt and you are obliged to provide me the relevant documentation. I have received no reply from you except the confirmation of receipt of letter on May 5, 2008. If you have no proof of this debt, please have the tradeline removed from all of the credit reporting agencies immediately.
You are now in violation of the FDCPA and subject to a fine of $1,000, which I may collect by filing a claim. I intend to continue with the suit if I don????????t hear back from you within the coming 15 days.
This might result in a bad mark on your reputation. This might even result in serious legal trouble with the FTC and other state and federal agencies.

Thanks for any help you all can provide!

Sub: #6 posted on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 01:55


You're on the right track. You should get debt validation from EVERY CA you're dealing with and if they don't respond, you follow up with a cease and desist letter. Then, you can use the proof of the letters sent as proof these debts are disputed and not validated. You then contact the credit reporting agencies and send them the proof that these debts are not valid and demand they be removed from the credit file.

Once the cease and desist letters are sent, you can then monitor and see if CA is trying to collect and then sue them for every violation they make.

For original creditors, you'll have to try and work out some kind of deal but if you can ride out until the SOL (statute of limitations) has expired and then go to collections do that. From the collection point, you can do the above and get rid of these alleged "debts."

Try to pay as little as possible as old debts are written off and taken as tax credits by original creditors and no one is really harmed. In fact, the only people that are harmed by this scam are the current card holders that have to pay principle plus interest to "debts" they funded and original "creditors" have since sold and packaged these assets to the wider investment community and are now double enriching themselves by maintaining the scam.

If all this sounds too hard, your fianc???? should consider bankruptcy since it seems he's a prime candidate for that.

Sub: #7 posted on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 13:10


A CA has no time limit to respond to a DV. If your DV is timely (w/in 30 days of initial dunning letter) then all collection efforts must cease until validation is provided. If your DV is un-timely, which it appears yours are, they do not have to ever respond nor do they have to cease collection activities. They do, however, have to mark the tradelines as "Disputed by Consumer - Meets FCRA Requirements" on all 3 CR's. If these debts are out of statute, then you can send your DV's and when you receive the return reciepts, dispute with the CRA's. If they verify the TL before providing validation, then they have violated the fdcpa. IF they are small amounts, that might be enough leverage to force them to delete the TL but you will have to push the issue.

Sub: #8 posted on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 16:40

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(Posts: 4665 | Credits: 308.23)

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