North Carolina legislation would remedy coerced debt for domestic abuse victims
House Bill 561 is known as the Coerced Debt Relief Act.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A bill known as the North Carolina Coerced Debt Relief Act would provide victims of domestic violence civil relief from coerced debt.
It would create an out of court and civil process to seek relief to help survivors more quickly overcome the barriers of financial abuse.
State Representative Terry Brown, who represents District 92 in Mecklenburg County, introduced it Tuesday.
“This bill will give domestic violence survivors the mechanism to get that debt removed through the financial service institution and then give the financial service institution to go after the abuser to recoup the expense,” Representative Brown said.
Woodson Bradley, who lives in Charlotte, experienced coerced debt firsthand.
“It started with business loans, well because of some excuse and yeah, I need you to help me with this business loan, or to co-sign on a piece of equipment, or I got this credit card, and then you find out it was based on your information,” Bradley told WBTV. “But you were married to this person and now all of a sudden you’re in this hole.”
She believes this legislation would give North Carolinians an opportunity that she did not have.
“It affected me, it affected the children, it affected my credit, it affected my business,” she said. “It started in 2013 and I did not get out from under it until almost 2019 and it just destroyed a financial profile that I had been building my whole life.”
After a years long legal battle she is divorced and on the other side of it.
She says she settled the lawsuit with her ex-husband and he relinquished parental rights.
“It was brutal,” she said.
Now hoping it can be easier for others.
“Freedom to take that control back, repair their credit, stop making these payments, and it’s a wonderful start,” she said.
Representative Brown introduced the bill on Tuesday and he hopes it could become law sometime this year.
Copyright 2023 WBTV. All rights reserved.