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Should I pay collections accounts in full just to stop them from hurting my credit score?

I am going through a divorce and have recently discovered accounts on my credit report that I was unaware of. I am now 30 years old and have zero prior credit history, save for this new minor mess. I confirmed that my identity has not been stolen.

I have pondered whether to dispute the accounts or just pay them in full to be done with them, and then put a freeze on my credit. Is it wise to pay my debt in full just to repair my credit? I don't have the time or patience to deal with debt collectors but mainly, I do not want to risk my career by having outstanding debts. I also don't want my payment of these accounts to be deemed as an acceptance of responsibility.

Alternatively, is there a legal way to have them removed completely, even if I have to pay in full? Whichever option produces the most favorable yet fastest results would be optimal. Our final divorce hearing could be before the end of the year and I would rather have this settled and not have to include it in the trial and prolong anything any further. I am financially able to pay in full immediately. I am just worried about how the accounts will be reflected afterwards and what impact it could have on my future credit.

Career / Compensation, Debt, Marriage / Divorce
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5 weeks ago

I would put a "freeze" on the creation of any new credit accounts and get the advice of your divorce attorney immediately.  You need to find out who created these accounts and when they were created.  These accounts may have been created fraudulently and/or in violation of the divorce agreement. 

It might not be your responsibility to pay the balances.  And even if you have the funds, the responsible party should pay.  Otherwise, what would prevent additional charges to these accounts? 

As you are getting your legal advice, you should call the credit companies and tell them what has happened.  If these accounts were created fraudulently, the credit companies may seek payment from the responsible party.  Or, they might write off these as bad debts. 

When the dust settles, you can contact the credit reporting agencies with the proper documentation to "fix" any damage to your credit rating that might have occurred.

Good luck resolving this issue.  

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