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Credit Card Debt - No Privacy At Home

No Privacy at Home

Although you and your spouse may choose not to tell all, knowledge of a spouse's credit-card debt can be divulged without repercussions to the tattling party.

Imagine that Mr. Doe had $100,000 in credit-card debt. He decided that his wife did not have to know about this debt, so he kept her in the dark. Then, a persistent banker came along, promising to solve all of Mr. Doe's credit problems with a home equity loan. When Mr. Doe repeatedly rebuffed the banker's attempts at consolidating his debt, the banker asked to speak to Mr. Doe's wife to advise her of his "debt situation." Of course, Mr. Doe protested and informed the banker of the extraordinary care that he had taken to conceal this debt from Mrs. Doe. Despite Mr. Doe's protestations, the banker went ahead and told Mrs. Doe.

You can imagine that this caused a great deal of marital disharmony and anguish for Mr. and Mrs. Doe. Mr. Doe was so distraught that he decided to sue the bank for invasion of his privacy. But an Illinois court said "no." A crucial element of an action for invasion of privacy was missing--there was no public disclosure of Mr. Doe's private financial status. Rather, his wife had a natural and proper interest in the information that her husband was $100,000 in debt. This interest arose from Mrs. Doe's potential obligation for paying those debts as Mr. Doe's wife under Illinois law. The fact that such debt decreased the value of the marital estate ultimately could impact Mrs. Doe's financial security in the event of a divorce or death.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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