Dear Dr. Don,
When my boyfriend tried to apply for credit, he found that his estranged wife somehow placed a “freeze” on his credit. What does this mean, and what does this mean for him and his credit?


Lacey Liberate


Dear Lacey,
Your boyfriend and his estranged wife have separate credit reports, even if they still have joint accounts. She should not have been able to freeze his credit report because it isn’t her credit report. The Bankrate feature, ”
Credit freezes available nationwide” explains the process.

He should contact the consumer reporting agencies, or CRAs — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — to confirm whether his credit report is frozen at all three of these consumer reporting agencies. If his report is frozen, and he didn’t take that action, he needs to either get the passwords from his estranged wife or work with the consumer reporting agencies in getting those accounts unfrozen.

Bankrate has the
contact information for the agencies.

I’m not quite sure how to translate the term “estranged wife” into the legal terms of a divorce. Is the estranged couple separated or divorced? Regardless, your boyfriend needs to work on managing his credit to minimize the impact of this change. The FTC Facts for Consumers guide, ”
Credit and Divorce” is a must-read.

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