Reporting my medical debt on my husband's credit report

by Brenda K.
(Sumter, SC)

Can a collection agency report my medical debt on my husband's credit report? We live in SC and the debt collector said that in SC it is a "privlege" to be married not a "right." So therefore we take on the debts of our spouses. Is this true? It doesn't seem fair that they can report on his credit if he didn't incur the debt.

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Feb 26, 2012
Reporting my medical debt on my husband's credit report

I don't know what the debt collector is talking about. South Caroline is a separate property state, which means that your husband is not legally liable for your debt and therefore, your unpaid medical debt should not show up on his credit reports. There is an exception to this rule however and that is if he signed paperwork agreeing to be responsible for your medical bills. In that case if the bills are not paid that fact will be noted in his credit files as well as yours.

Assuming your husband did not sign such paperwork, then he should try to get the information removed by disputing it, a right he has under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. If the information appears in more than one of his reports (There are three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- and so he has three different credit reports.), he will have to dispute the information with each credit reporting agency. He can do that by visiting each of their web sites.

Once he files a dispute, the credit reporting agency will contact the supplier of the incorrect information to confirm whether the information does or does not belong in your husband's credit history. If the supplier says it belongs there, the information will stay there. Should this happen to your husband, he may want to contact a consumer law attorney in your area who helps consumers resolve credit record problems. Worse case scenario, he may have to file a lawsuit to get his problem cleared up.

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