Going through a divorce can be a stressful and challenging time. One impact of divorce that is often overlooked is the impact it can have on your credit score. It is common for individuals going through a divorce to focus on figuring out the details of living their lives separately, but figuring out your now individual finances can be difficult.
Getting divorced itself will not affect your credit score (because marital status does not play a role in determining your credit score). However, there are many indirect effects of divorce that can affect your scores. First, a court will likely divide up the responsibilities for shared debts in a divorce decree. This may require one spouse to take over the payments for a joint-mortgage, and the other spouse to be responsible for an auto loan.
There are several steps you can take to help manage any effect a divorce can have on your credit score. Additionally, it is important to find out what your current credit score is. Copies of your credit reports are available by visiting annualcreditreport.com. It is important to continue to monitor your score while going through a divorce to make sure there are no errors or problems.
Additionally, it is often best to separate all shared accounts. Addressing who will maintain what account, or closing them completely, can often be handled as part of the separation. Most of these changes can also be taken care of by contacting your lending institution directly. Failure to do so, will keep you tied together financially with your former spouse. Therefore, if they fall behind on bills, or run up credit card balances, the so-called “black marks” will appear on your credit score as well.
While going through a separation it may also be possible to figure out payment plans of jointly owned assets. This can be done by either selling some of these marital assets to pay off the debt of others, or buying out the shares of your former spouse. These procedures may take some time to develop, so making sure that you continuously have access to the account during these times is important.
Lastly, it is important to recognize that you now need to build credit in your own name. This can be done by paying your monthly expenses with a credit card in your own name. Paying your bill in full each month is also recommended.
The family law attorneys at Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, P.A. are experienced in handling complex family law issues, including divorce, child custody and support, equitable distribution, and alternative dispute resolution. The firm is also experienced in helping families and individuals deal with the devastating effects of financial distress and in mapping out potential strategies, including the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, to help them cope and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our skilled attorneys have the experience necessary to provide clients with the best possible outcome for their situation. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form.