Can a debt collector speak to your spouse and not youregarding an account that is only in your name?

I am being sued for a debt of $20,000 that I owe a bank. Although I am the one being sued they have yet to talk to me, only my wife. They have given her all the information of this account. Is this legal to do? It is my card not hers yet she is the only one that they have spoken with. Would I have any legal action against the law firm that is handling the matter?

Asked on September 20, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As horrible as it sounds, some states (New York included) allows debt collectors to speak with spouses regarding delinquent accounts.  But if you are unsure that your state is one of those states then ask them to send you the law that allows it.  Truly it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, doesn't it.  What if you and your spouse were estranged or about to separate and now your financial situation is disclosed where you did not wish it to be?  You can call and ask them to note your account that they can not speak with her at all and they have no idea what you situation is.  It may work; it may not.  Further, in New York they ask the question: are you familiar with this account?  If you say "no" then they should hang up without saying a word.  Further, lawsuits are generally public records.  So it is out there for all to see.  Good luck.

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