When Married Couples Have the Same Name

Recently, the Wall Street Journal had an article about married couples who wound up having the same name. And this issue may become more common as names previously considered male or female become gender-neutral. For example, in November of 2022, movie star Taylor Lautner married Taylor Dome, who became Mrs. Taylor Lautner. While the article had charming stories about how the couples give each other nicknames and how they deal with the confusion at family gatherings. But what was interesting is that Wall Street’s paper of record failed to mention how this could impact a couple’s financial well-being. But it could do that by impacting both spouses’ credit scores.

The problem is that if a couple has the same name, it’s very likely that the mix-ups could go beyond misdirected birthday cards. Instead, the spouses’ credit reports could be impacted by mixed files—when the information relating to one person with the same name ends up in another person’s record.

An estimated 35% of consumers have mixed files—information on their report that doesn’t belong to them. The problem is even more prevalent for those who have disputes over collection accounts.

For some consumers, mixed files are a product of identity theft. But, according to credit bureau Experian, the similarity between family members’ data is the most common cause for a mixed file.

To avoid having a mixed file, consider the following:

  • Use the family member’s full name—including middle names and “generation identifiers” (e.g., “Sr.” or “Jr.”)—for any legal or financial documents, including credit cards, banking accounts, and billing addresses.
  • Monitor and immediately correct any vendors or others who may omit the distinguishing identifiers from correspondence and billing information.
  • Review each family member’s credit report on an annual basis.

If you and your family members already have mixed files, it’s important to get this addressed—but it can be challenging to convince the creditors and credit bureaus to review the material. Particularly since family members aren’t usually sharing just a name: They also have the same address and the same bank accounts and credit cards, and they may use the same merchants and utilities.

That’s why you should contact an attorney at Credit Report Law Group who represents clients like you. An attorney specializing in credit report issues will know how to convince the bureaus to update their files.

If you have any issues with a mixed file, identity theft, or other credit-related concerns—a lawyer can help you repair your record and obtain compensation for any damages you sustained.