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Several years ago my wife let her mother "use" her credit card because my mother-in-law did not have credit of her own. I did not know it at the time but apparently my wife let mom use the card as often and as much as she wanted, so long as mom paid the minimum payment every month. The card now has a balance of over $5000 and recently mom has been unable to make even the minimum payment. As soon as I learned this, I immediately closed the account. My wife is a stay at home mom and so it has come down to the fact that I must make the payments on this card to prevent any further damage to my wife's credit history. This infuriates me to no end. The debt fully belongs to mom however mom's name appears nowhere on the account. Is there anything we can do to get the debt transfered to the rightful owner or am I stuck with this bill until it's paid.
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Ratkey: "Several years ago my wife let her mother "use" her credit card because my mother-in-law did not have credit of her own. I did not know it at the time but apparently my wife let mom use the card as often and as much as she wanted, so long as mom paid the minimum payment every month. The card now has a balance of over $5000 and recently mom has been unable to make even the minimum payment. As soon as I learned this, I immediately closed the account. My wife is a stay at home mom and so it has come down to the fact that I must make the payments on this card to prevent any further damage to my wife's credit history. This infuriates me to no end. The debt fully belongs to mom however mom's name appears nowhere on the account. Is there anything we can do to get the debt transfered to the rightful owner or am I stuck with this bill until it's paid."

As you explained it, the card was used with the account holder's permission, so the debt belongs tot eh account holder. In other words, I think that you are stuck, unless your m-i-l will/can open her own account and then do a balance transfer to pay off the old account. I know of no way to "make" this happen.

Although you did not mention this issue, it seems to me that you and your wife have some issues to discuss, too. One aside, was your name also on the account (i.e. was it a joint account), or was it the sole account of your wife? Obviously, you are not compelled to answer, but if it was only her account (i.e. your credit would not suffer), you could let her feel the consequences (but this would be a drastic action and I would not favor it if you hope to reconcile your marriage).

Good luck and best wishes.

Regards, JAFO

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The debt fully belongs to mom however mom's name appears nowhere on the account. Is there anything we can do to get the debt transfered to the rightful owner or am I stuck with this bill until it's paid.

If you figure out a way to do this, let me in know. My situation is just the opposite.

I gave my mom possession of my CitiBank CC about 5-6 years ago when she couldn't get a card of her own. (She had no credit history in her name after a divorce). She has paid it faithfully and only once missed a payment. Ironically, she now has credit established in her own name because of this card.

When I opened the account I requested a card with her name on it. CitiBank has been reporting this on her credit report since the account was opened, but she never signed a single paper in regards to opening the card. The bill has always been sent to her address, and Citibank's records show she has been the one paying on it for all these years, but we still can't get them to transfer the card to her name only.

I don't get it. If their own records prove she's been the responsible party, why can't they change it? I've lost count of the number of 'reasons' we've been given. The last time we tried to make the change, they told us she would have to open her own and do a balance transfer. We finally gave up. It just didn't seem worth the hassle anymore.

Ange
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One aside, was your name also on the account (i.e. was it a joint account), or was it the sole account of your wife? <snip> if it was only her account (i.e. your credit would not suffer), you could let her feel the consequences

JAFO,

Forgive my ignorance, but in the long run couldn't this affect Ratkey's credit, too?

Friends of mine were turned down for a morgtage recently. They were told that although one had super credit, the other's credit report was so bad that the bank wouldn't take the risk. The bank also refused to issue the morgtage in just one name because based on a "single" income, it looked like they wouldn't make enough money to cover the payments.

Ange

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<<The debt fully belongs to mom however mom's name appears nowhere on the account. Is there anything we can do to get the debt transfered to the rightful owner or am I stuck with this bill until it's paid.>>

Because your wife's name is on the account, it's her debt. In the agreement it states that you assume responsibility if you let someone else use your card. Looks like your stuck.....unless!

If there's any way you mother-in-law can get a new card with a balance transfer option you would have an out. She could then transfer the balance to 'her' card.

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like that's possible if she can't even make minimum payments now.

Good luck,
Lee
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The debt fully belongs to mom however mom's name appears nowhere on the account. Is there anything we can do to get the debt transfered to the rightful owner or am I stuck with this bill until it's paid.

Ratkey,

If the card was used by your mother-in-law with your wife's permission, the debt belongs to you and your wife. There's no way around this.

The only thing to do is to try to have her mother contribute whatever she can to the debts that were incurred for her, and hopefully she'll be able to provide something.

Legally, though, short of taking mom to court (and that would only be an option if there was proof she agreed to repay the charges) you've got to bite the bullet on this one.

Tony
...but I still am...

Off2Aruba
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CharginFool:

<<<<One aside, was your name also on the account (i.e. was it a joint account), or was it the sole account of your wife? <snip> if it was only her account (i.e. your credit would not suffer), you could let her feel the consequences.>>>>

"Forgive my ignorance, but in the long run couldn't this affect Ratkey's credit, too?

Friends of mine were turned down for a morgtage recently. They were told that although one had super credit, the other's credit report was so bad that the bank wouldn't take the risk. The bank also refused to issue the morgtage in just one name because based on a "single" income, it looked like they wouldn't make enough money to cover the payments."


This may sound hyper-technical, or you may just consider it a definitional (or semantic) issue, but IMO "his credit rating" is what he can qualify for on his income and payment history. Thus, his credit rating is not affected (but he may be affected).

If future borrowing is joint, then yes her credit rating could affect him

WRT your friends, his income was not big enough to support the debt (not declined because of his credit rating), so they were trying for a joint debt and, then, yes her credit rating would matter.

Letting her feel the consequences is also not necessarily good for their marriage, which is why a qualfied my earlier statement.

Regards, JAFO


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Although I think it might be wise to require her to start working, at least part time, to repay the debt herself. That way she'll think twice about letting mom run up a debt in her name if she doesn't have the income to pay for it.

Its ridiculous for her to sit at home with no income making bills expecting someone else (you) to pay. Even if you are married to a wonderful spouse and you have a good relationship. It is just disrespectful to the relationship and what you two agreed you'd do in order for her to stay at home. She's taking advantage of you and you should make her get to work. Just my two cents.
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Your wife is stuck with the debt, and there's nothing you can do about that.
There's lots of stuff you can do to get your $5000 back though. I'd recommend you discuss them with your wife first, since they involve taking out life insurance on Mom (and maybe a viatical settlement), liquidating some of Mom's stuff, etc..... All depends on how badly you want your five grand back.

Eric

Several years ago my wife let her mother "use" her credit card because my mother-in-law did not have credit of her own. I did not know it at the time but apparently my wife let mom use the card as often and as much as she wanted, so long as mom paid the minimum payment every month. The card now has a balance of over $5000 and recently mom has been unable to make even the minimum payment. As soon as I learned this, I immediately closed the account. My wife is a stay at home mom and so it has come down to the fact that I must make the payments on this card to prevent any further damage to my wife's credit history. This infuriates me to no end. The debt fully belongs to mom however mom's name appears nowhere on the account. Is there anything we can do to get the debt transfered to the rightful owner or am I stuck with this bill until it's paid.
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Don't let mom-in-law get away with this. Sit down with her and explain the financial predicament she has put your family in. Then make arrangements for her to help you out around the house and yard and with the children if there are any on a weekly basis, no excuses. She will be credited for $X per hour for this work and this will go towards her debt to you. She is an adult and she and your wife have serious issues to address about their relationship.
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since they involve taking out life insurance on Mom (and maybe a viatical settlement), liquidating some of Mom's stuff, etc.....

Dude, How harsh are you? Yeah the debt realistically belongs to mom, but taking out a policy so she's paid when she dies? Hawking her stuff? This is his wife's mother.

I would say that the responsibilty falls just as much, if not more, on the poster's wife. It sounds like she gave a card (behind her husband's back no less) to someone who wasn't responsible enough to have a credit card to begin with. Now she has to pay the price. There's no reason the husband should be burdened with paying off her mistake.

To me there is only one realistic solution: Have her get a job and put 100% of her income into paying off the debt. Your credit won't be bad if you continue to make payments over the minimum and pay it off.

La--
It doesn't MATTER what my name is!
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