Featured News 2015 Protecting Your Credit in a Divorce

Protecting Your Credit in a Divorce

Some divorces are amicable, while others are hotly contested. Regardless of the circumstances, your credit is a risk when you split from your spouse. No matter how rational people are under normal conditions, divorce has a way of making people do unpredictable things.

It's not uncommon for divorce clients to find that their soon-to-be ex-spouse ruined their credit while they were finalizing their divorce. A husband or a wife can agree to pay certain credit card accounts, but they never do. Sometimes this sabotage comes right when a spouse needs to establish their own financial identity.

If your spouse ruins your credit, it can hurt your chances of getting good interest rates on credit cards, auto loans and mortgages. Credit matters to property management companies, utilities, and auto insurance companies; they use it to establish security deposits and monthly premiums.

You're in a bad position if you let someone else have control over your credit. Here's a few ways to protect your credit during a divorce:

  • In the divorce agreement, don't agree to take on more credit obligations than you can afford to handle or your credit can suffer.
  • Pull your credit report to see which ones are individual, joint, or authorized user accounts. If you're in a community property state, such as California, Arizona or Texas, all debts acquired during the marriage are "jointly" owned. Use your credit report to find out what you owe.
  • If your spouse is an authorized user on any of your accounts, call the credit card issuer and have your spouse removed.
  • Pay off all joint accounts and close them before filing for divorce. If that's impossible, look into turning all joint accounts into individual ones.

Lastly, keep tabs on all joint accounts, especially if you live in a community property state. If you find out that your ex isn't making payments on the agreed accounts, call your divorce lawyer immediately.

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