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Ladies, and possibly men in the Ladies' Lounge, I need to hear what you would do in my situation.

Recently, I pulled my credit report for the first time in ages. There were two credit card accounts I didn't recognize, one with a $5000 balance that had been paid, the other with an unpaid $7500 balance. Suspecting identity theft, I contacted Experian and then the two credit card agencies from the false accounts.

Long story short, I found out that my husband had created these accounts under my name without telling me to pay for some IRS debt that he was embarrassed to tell me about. I had no knowledge of these debts. He never okayed using my name with me to open these accounts.

This is the second time he has completely lied to me about financial matters. The first time was a huge lie that I really am too tired to type. I told him if he lied to me again, I was out the door. I deserve better. We have three kids. If it were just me, I'd be packing with a plane ticket in hand. It's not just me. Our youngest is under 2.

We otherwise have a good marriage, but we have ALWAYS had issues with money. I am soooo f****** frustrated at how he is embarrassed about his financial situation. So what?! I don't care, we'll get through it, but DON'T LIE TO ME!! I don't trust him anymore, I don't want to trust him, I don't want to be lied to again. I hate this, and I hate that he has taken my trust.

I am very capable of being an independent woman. I have a secure job. I am worried about the kids part. And I have guilt around my vows. But I also know I deserve better than this. I hope there are people who will respond and let me know what they think.
 

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Without answering you directly as a capable woman is there no way for you to stop this happening in the future. Surely you can stop your husband using your name. How I am not sure. Perhaps open your own with every single credit agency so they wont open another in your name. Anything is better than divorce.
 

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That is identity theft. My ex h did this to me after I left him. He stole my checkbook and drivers license out of my car(I use to never lock it) and handed my checkbook to me a week later telling me he took them out of my car.

What I didn't know is he took a credit card and forged my name. He quickly maxed it out and never paid the bill. This was back in 1994. I didn't realize this happened on until I got a call from a collection agency s few months later. At this time I was a single parent, going to work, then taking night classes at a community college. I was busy and set this aside telling the debt collectors what my husband had done. I think the bill was around 10 grand. Anyways, I was 20 at the time and very ignorant about this situation. I had so much going on, it was at the bottom of my list of things to fix.

I never paid a dime, I had another credit card he stole and maxed out(this one was mine) that I was trying hard to pay off. The credit card my ex forged expired after 6 years due to statue of limitations. The collectors had to stop calling me, I was threatening to take them to court since I was no longer obligated to pay what was identity theft. My ex h admitted to it and laughed about it. He thought it was very funny and a way to piss me off. My ex is very abusive and was also stalking me, even though his gf had moved in 3 days after I left. I did not love my ex.

Your husband has a big problem. I would guess he has a gambling problem. My father would do this to my mother and gamble all their money. She stuck with him, but she treats him like a child. They had many money issues and my dad lost his well paying job twice due to gambling. I let them move in here until they were back on their feet. My dad goes through a lot of IC and tries to work out his problems/addictions. Once in a while he'll get caught at the casino's. My dad had even stolen money last year. My mom gave my husband $200 cash for his christmas and birthday and my dad took $50 of it. Obviusly he still has a problem after all these years.

My mother loves my Dad, but my mom is the VERY controlling type(to everyone), so their marriage balanced out in some weird way. I personally could not handle the lies or money issues like this. I would make sure you keep the communication skills open and frequent. You will need to always keep a watchful eye to where your money is going. Figure out what he is spending it on, every last penny.

I wish you the best of luck! I could not deal with it. Just imagine the debt he could cause if he keeps this up. You are 1/2 responsible for his debt, the more he spends, the more your entitled to pay if you divorce in the future. My dad lost over 100 grand in gambling in less then a year. I personally would walk away. It's very unfair to you.
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Anything is better than divorce.

No way! This is not true.... LOTS of things are better than divorce. Like building up a life where you don't have to constantly wonder if the one person you should trust the most is screwing you over in some way....
 

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To ST
In this marriage where the only problem is money if it can be solved like I wrote then anything is better than divorce.
 

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The first thing I would do is to sign up for identity and credit theft protection, and to lock down your credit from being used in this way. You can also sign up for alerts and monthly reports. I subscribe to a service through my bank and it's only $5.50 a month. Under the circumstances, it's money well spent for you.

The second thing I would do is to meet with an attorney to have the actions of your husband documented, and to send him a notarized record from the attorney that you did not agree to his actions and use of your name and credit for his IRS debt. However, that you are choosing not to pursue charges at this time. The unpaid balance should either be transferred to his name, or if this would be too much of a burden if his interest rate would be higher, and thus money out of your household...he should need to be responsible for making the sacrifices he needs to make personally to pay off IRS debt that was his alone, and openly show that he is in good standing with the debt repayment.

Additionally, he will need to be transparent about his own credit and lines of credit, in that at the very least you should also ask him to subscribe to a credit monitoring service to which you would have access.

Of course, he can find other ways of borrowing money, such as from loan sharks. But if he ends up getting the both of you in hot water, at least you will feel that you put in a good effort at enforcing what was important to you in your marriage. Such as financial transparency and absence of deceit, even if it is lying by omission, etc.

Your H should also agree to go to a credit/debt counseling service and maybe even a support group because obviously a person who would deceive their spouse about money has some issues they need to deal with. Equating financial security and solvency with self-worth, not wanting to seek support for a personal problem from spouse, lack of forward thinking about the marriage in terms of sharing problems that could threaten it. I think all of these are serious if left alone. The fact that he did pay off one credit line he opened up, which is about the same amount as the other credit line, is encouraging. IRS debt is unpleasant, and can accumulate. Men are strange sometimes, they have a great pride and if it was business debt or some failed enterprise or whatever it may have threatened his self-image of what a man should be to his family. Perhaps he could take up gardening and hanging out the laundry to help take some of the bite out of finances, give up some meat meals if he eats meat, give up cable or satellite or sports options, etc. Little things he can do to both improve family life and also reduce expenses to help pay off the debt.

If he is a risk-taker with money I wouldn't necessarily discourage that, because it can be a good thing. One failure doesn't predict another, in fact a failure can be learned from. It's just a matter of setting aside investment money for ventures. Risk-taking can be appropriate, so long as it doesn't lead to deceit and he gets over the shame of loss and recognizes it as a non-personal issue, given that he can overcome any lack of competencies that led to first failure. If a business venture has failed, he could also benefit from meeting with an SBA volunteer or entrepreneurship incubator service (available at many states, counties or universities...) to go over his past and future ideas.

You don't want to be a pushover, and honestly, I also would not throw the baby out with the bathwater for this kind of deceit, but neither would I condone it because deceit can never lead to anything good in a marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for posting responses, all of you.

My husband is not a gambler. Neither of us are big spenders, money doesn't disappear and he always calls me if he's coming home late from the job (which is rarely). He is hardly gone from the house aside from work, and if he is, he tells me where he is.

Our marriage, I thought, was a solid one. He is an excellent, active father. He loves his kids and spends time playing with them, listening them, disciplining them. Our sex life is great. We have been through some difficult things together and have weathered them well. This money issue is THE biggest issue we have.

The recession has been very difficult on us. He has had problems finding jobs. Mine, thankfully, has been secure. He is currently working a job that pays about half of what he normally makes. He is a hard worker, never slacking. If he didn't have work, he was always actively looking for it. He is not a bad man. He is just a very, very poor communicator with me. I have tried to persuade him to TALK to me about issues. He is too embarrassed to tell me money things, and this time, it may cost us our marriage. I cannot be lied to again.

I am writing this on Christmas morning, when I should be happy with my kids, and not worrying about much. This is his second HUGE lie about money, and it has destroyed my trust AGAIN. I am not a stupid woman. I know it's possible that he can lie again, no matter how much he apologizes. I am able to take care of myself and our children on my own. I am just so fricking tired right now. I don't understand how he could lie for so long instead of just talking to me. He used my NAME, threatened my credit (which was in the 800's and now falling). He did this because he was EMBARRASSED about something?

I might consider couples counseling, but honestly, I deserve better than this. I deserve better than a man who lies to me. My children deserve to have a mother who doesn't take sh**. My daughter deserves to have a mother who stands up for herself.
 

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I think talking to an attorney about how to protect yourself financially in your marriage is a good idea. Do the things you can do to protect yourself from known hazards. If you get a divorce you might very well end up paying child support to him, even alimony if your state is very progressive. So you might end up doing what you want to avoid doing, which is subsidizing your H's financial issues. At the expense of losing all the things you do enjoy about your marriage. People have weaknesses, you sound very strong. Being lied to is unpleasant, but it is a reality. We would like to have spouses who don't lie to us, but in the end it feels better knowing we do not lie to ourselves. There are ways of standing up for yourself that don't involve divorce. It is okay to tell your H that he is disappointing, and that you are going to do the things you need to do to protect your marriage and life from financial insolvency. If you are satisfied with the rest of your life/marriage, don't shoot yourself in the foot out of pride. Figure out how you can get what you want out of your marriage. You are lucky in that you know absolutely you can manage on your own, and have confidence. It's good not to need your spouse in that way. Holding him accountable for his debt may do him a favor, even though he may not say it. My H was a huge liar, he lied to me for 4 years about something. Even when I asked him point blank about some issues. Once I have stood up for something, I like to enjoy the spoils, and I do! We are still married, and I can reap the benefits of having stood up for myself, and still have a marriage I can enjoy. Working through other people's stupid decisions and the consequences is part of bonding I think. It is at least worth a try. I'm not sure what you did last time around when he lied to you, except the ultimatum. Probably he needs to have more guidance and accountability, but who would ever admit that? I used to make a lot of money in my job and now I don't work in that industry although I could I suppose...instead I'm doing something else and even as a woman who is able to put time into children and volunteer activities, I sometimes feel financially emasculated because our society puts so much emphasis on dollars. It takes a big change in thinking to live otherwise.

If he won't go to couples counseling, there is a LOT that can occur through individual counseling in terms of gaining tactics to stick up for yourself while still being in a marriage. I mean of course not IC for him but for you, which seems silly because it's not really your problem, but it's something that's problemmatic to you and something you might be able to change given distance from the hurt of deceit. It is REALLY hard not to take things personally, when we are close enough to someone to experience the consequences of something they would do even if we were not in the picture. That's to say, if he had another wife besides you, he would have done exactly the same thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate your input, Homemaker. "There are ways of standing up for yourself that don't involve divorce." That, most of all, was food for thought for me. I need more quiet time to read your post, I have kids buzzing around wanting to open gifts right now, but I will read them. Thank you again for the input. I hadn't thought about sitting down with an attorney regarding what you suggested.

I had posted on a different parenting site and gotten a smattering of half-brain answers. I appreciate you taking the time and some good ideas.

If there are more responses, I may not get to post a response for a bit with Christmas visits/obligations. Thanks in advance.
 

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You'd be doing him and your kids as well as yourself a favor by talking to an attorney, one who can advise you about finances, real estate, etc. The issue is that even with a divorce, beyond the child support and possible alimony issues, if something happened to you right now, if you became disabled temporarily or permanently in some way, or if your life ended, he would be in charge of the finances for your children. Sometimes people need to be protected from themselves (even me, sometimes, and mostly I can do the protecting myself pretty well...but ask for help when I need it, which is different approach than most people I think, because no subject is taboo for me :p) but always children need to be protected. You're also in a position where he could become sullen at being exposed and possibly file for a divorce ahead of you. His idea of the rest of the marriage may not be the same as yours, although I suspect you are a pretty good judge of his sentiment since you have found him out twice lying. ;)

Just don't shoot yourself in the foot because of his issues. Use your current power and authority to its advantage to shore up the foundations of your life. A husband is/can be a lot of work, I think nobody ever informed us of this prior to marriage, otherwise maybe we wouldn't have got married. (Guys, this is the ladies' part of the forum here, so what did you expect!)

The attorney would be a good move, along with setting up will, advanced directives, a financial power of attorney other than your husband, a provisional trust, etc. and things I mentioned before. Then you can rest easy on having squared things away as best as possible financially and enjoy all the rest. I think most people have an Achille's heel. In a marriage we have to be our brother's keeper, even if it means literally saying 'Oh, Brother!' once in a while.

I'm sticking up for myself right now by being home on Christmas Day enjoying my holiday, giving time to myself and my life. H is with his family. When I'm with them I feel depersonalized, and I promised myself I wouldn't subject myself to that. Honoring my promise to my inner child, as this is a child's holiday, really. My H did not seem very disturbed at all by my choice. So there's the flip side of tolerance and patience and not taking things too personally, you will be setting an example for how things should go in your marriage were the tables ever turned, and you need some shoring up, in whatever way you might imagine and a zillion other possibilities life might bring to us pathetic mortals ;-)
 

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I sympathize completely with you. I know someone else that is in the same predicament as you but is unaware of it as yet. I don't see where you have much choice. You have to protect yourself and the little ones.

I would immediately freeze my credit with all 3 credit unions ( you can do that on line) Credit Freeze and Thaw Guide | www.clarkhoward.com . No one is going to extend him credit if they cant check his score. I would also look into freezing the kids as well so he couldn't use their social.
 

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I totally understand. It is infidelity-financial infidelity. The worst part is the lack of trust you have for him. Not because he had money issues-but because of the the lies that go on for years make you feel like you could trust your neighbor more than him
 

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I'm not sure how he could have opened these accounts under your name...HIS, I could understand but if his credit is lousy...he STILL should not have been able to open an account under your name.

With that said..you should have received a letter in the mail in HIS name telling you that YOU opened a credit account being that the two of you are married.

What gets me is that the credit laws in this country totally stink!! Why is it that a spouse can open a credit account without the other spouses signature ESPECIALLY in states where common law marriage rules are in affect and one spouses debts are the others debts?

I went through something like this with my ex husband. He'd max out one credit card and get another. I had no say..just a letter in the mail that told me that he'd opened yet another credit account...YET when the bill collectors started calling..I was told that we lived in a state where his debts were MY debts and I was responsible for any debts he incurred.

Money is the number one worst of all evils in marriage. Infidelity is the second and mistrust is the third. It stinks to be lies to about any of them as it again causes mistrust.

If you can't trust your spouse..it's time to first of all get into counseling to see if you can work through these types of problems...and if not..it's time for divorce..no if and or buts.

Sorry to be so blunt..but been there..done that. Never again and thank God I married a very faithful, honest man the second time around.

With that..good luck and God bless.
 
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