In short, the answer is No. Why?
According to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, to request a consumer report on someone else’s credit, even if they are your spouse, you need what is called a permissible purpose (i.e. a valid reason) to request the credit report. Being married to someone or going through a divorce is not considered a permissible purpose. If you obtained your spouse’s consent in writing then you may be able to access your spouse’s credit profile. Yet, it would be best if your spouse obtained it directly.
The following are examples of permissible purposes to obtain a consumer report on another person, where:
- A court order is issued where the court has the appropriate jurisdiction to issue the order or a subpoena in connection with the proceeding before a federal grand jury
- The person in question provides written instructions providing you authority to obtain the credit profile
- A business is involved in a consumer transaction such as a new credit card or a car loan and needs to verify the credit of the individual in question
- An employer desires to screen the credit of a prospective employee
- An insurance carrier is evaluating the risk of underwriting an insurance policy for the person in question
- The Department of Motor Vehicles is evaluating whether to grant a license to the person in question
- A potential investor is evaluating the credit of a significant person who may be responsible to generate a return on the investment
- An agency is connected with the issuance of government-sponsored travel
- A request from the head of state or local child enforcement agency is made
- There is a need to understand the person’s capacity to make (or enforce) child support payments
With the exception of the last permissible purpose, divorces and marriages do not fall into any of those categories. Obtaining a credit report on your spouse without a permissible purpose is deemed illegal. If you attempted to access the credit report and received information you could be committing a fraudulent transaction, such as identity theft, and potentially be subject to criminal penalties.
About the Author
Larry Smith is a Founding Partner of Divorce Outcomes, a specialized professional services firm that manages all of the financial aspects in a divorce process. Since 2003 he has worked as a trusted financial advisor, financial advocate, divorce architect and technical financial expert; he is not an attorney. He is an alumni of KPMG and Andersen with expertise in technical accounting, forensics, sophisticated taxation, management consulting, risk management, advanced process engineering, business combinations, divorce management, multi-party negotiations, advanced quality analytics and cognitive performance technologies. Since 1986 Larry has been advising individuals and organizations about innovative financial solutions to resolve complex financial challenges that arise in life and in business.
For both personal and business divorces, Larry is considered an expert in divorce strategies, divorce process management, financial divorce architecture, financial risk management, taxation for divorces, financial divorce forensics, advanced divorce analytics, financial divorce negotiations and mediation, business valuations and sophisticated equity structures. He helps clients shape complex financial decisions, manage communication risks and ever-changing negotiating positions to strategically preserve or grow wealth from these types of transactions.
If You Have a Question
If you have a question, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 617-680-5222. The call is free. I will spend 30–60 minutes with you. I will provide you an honest assessment as to where I think you are positioned in your divorce process or answer any questions you have. I may provide you some guidance, insight or advice that you can take with you as you wish. There is no obligation to move forward. The phone call is designed to ease your fears, provide you some options to pursue and a potential road to run on that can lead you down a path to achieve a successful outcome.
About Divorce Outcomes
Divorce Outcomes is a specialty services firm that helps people both domestically and internationally manage all of the financial decisions that arise in their divorce process. We are not attorneys. We are financial experts who partner with our clients as their personal financial advocates. We help our clients manage their divorce process, uncover hidden financial risks, architect divorce solutions, manage ever-changing negotiating positions, communicate complex financial matters and close the divorce process as soon as possible with a goal to arrive at the best outcomes possible. Throughout the process we evaluate the current state of our clients’ financial lives with an objective to best reposition their future. We do not sell any products. We simply raise issues that are in our clients best interest. Our clients share with us we:
- unfold, analyze and repackage their financial life so they are well positioned after their divorce
- preserve the value of their business or marital estate
- continuously strive to provide a return on our services
- build balanced financial solutions grounded in evidence
- find ways to make our client, and at times both parties, money through the process
- design their divorce to work for them and their family’s life
- provide mental clarity to make decisions
- reduce the total process time from start to close
- minimize the stress and unpleasant memories that can last a lifetime
As we reach an agreed upon settlement structure, we help our clients identify a fitting attorney who can leverage the financial solution to draft and record the requisite legal documents. Where outcomes are at risk from a traditional process, we function as expert financial negotiators or financial mediators to turn around the situation and achieve our client’s desired outcomes.
This communication is for general informational purposes only which may or may not reflect the most current developments. It is not intended to constitute formal advice or a recommended course of action as every person’s situation is unique and different. The information here is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon by the recipient to make a decision without professional guidance.