Am I responsible for a motorcycle loan that my husband took out in my name?

Question: My Husband Has a Motorcycle Loan in My Name That I Did Not Sign For. I Have Knowledge of the Loan But Did Not Sign For It. We are Having Marital Problems Now. I Have Disputed This Loan With Equifax and They Will Not Remove It. He is Not Making Payments On Time. What Can I Do?

Answer: This is a very unfortunate situation because it sounds like even though you didn’t personally sign for the motorcycle loan, you knew that you husband was getting the loan in your name (i.e. using your credit in order to get the loan).

Even if you didn’t know what he was doing, your recourse and options are going to be limited because I assume that many months (maybe years) have passed since he originally got the loan. The time for you to speak up about it – or to let creditors or the credit bureaus know that you did not authorize the loan – would have been immediately after you learned of this.

If he took out a loan without your knowledge, authorization or consent, then that is identity theft. If you can prove that it was fraud, perhaps by showing that it was not your signature on the loan contract, then you may have an outside chance at getting this loan off your credit.

However, that may be a long shot. Weren’t the statements coming to your house each month and didn’t you see them? Doesn’t your husband live in the same home with you and didn’t you ask how he got a motorcycle? How long has it been that he’s had that motorcycle? I know these questions may sound harsh. But from the financial community’s perspective, it may seem like you are complaining about being on the loan now that you and your husband are having marital problems and he is not making the payments.

Under the law, if your name is on a credit account with your husband, (such as a mortgage, credit card or car loan), then you are both liable for that debt – even if you divorce. Right or wrong, that’s the law – and not just in community property states either.

Evaluating Your Other Options

Since your husband is not making timely payments, you have a handful of other options:

a)      make the payments yourself – and preserve your credit rating;

b)      try to convince him to pay on time

c)      see if you can work out a voluntary repossession, where he would turn the motorcycle back into the lender/finance company (but your credit would be impacted)

d)      consider whether a financially responsible family member or friend can take over the payments and use the motorcycle, which will relieve your husband of paying each month and may also keep your credit intact

What to Do With the Credit Bureaus

Additionally, if you think that divorce is likely, I would start closing out all joint accounts and notifying your creditors of your impending or actual separation. You should also put a credit freeze on your credit files so that no new credit can be obtained in your name. Lastly, pull your credit records from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and sign up for a good credit monitoring service for the next year or so. You want to make sure there are no other accounts opened by your husband of which you may not have been aware.

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