Can I settle my debt without hurting my wife's credit?

by Mike
(Lake Steven WA)

I have fallen behind in my personal credit card payments. I am trying to I will be trying to use a debt settlement company to pay my debt. Will this harm my wife's credit?

Also do you have any advise on using debt settlement company?

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Sep 21, 2010
settling debt in Washington state
by: Mary

Washington State is a community property state, which means that any debt you (or your wife) acquire during your marriage is your joint debt, and so technically you are equally liable for it.

That said, only your joint accounts will appear on your spouse?s credit reports. Your individual accounts are not likely listed. (You can check your credit reports to be sure.) Therefore, I highly doubt that your wife?s credit scores will be affected because you try to settle them.

Debt settlement may be a good option for resolving your debt problem depending on the details of your finances although it's important that you work with a fair and ethical settlement firm, especially with the new Debt Relief Rules going into effect. To learn more about settlement, I suggest that you listen to this debt settlement podcast. It's an interview that I did with Michael Bovee, the owner of Consumer Recovery Network, which is a consumer-friendly settlement firm. The firm offers a do-it-yourself settlement option and well as full service settlement services.

I asked Michael Bovee about your situation and he said it is not not at all uncommon. He warned that if you are sued over a debt and the creditor obtains a judgment, the judgment creditor could potentially try to go after joint bank accounts, assets etc. However, he said it is not uncommon for one spouse to settle his or her own individual debts and leave their spouse out of it ? even in community property states.

Michael also suggested that if your wife is an authorized user on any of your accounts, remove her before you start to fall behind. This will help mitigate any potential damage to her credit.

I hope this helps!

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