Your efforts to save your marriage may have been futile. Nevertheless, it is necessary to pay attention to your credit score, since it will affect your life post marital separation. Financial decisions taken prior to your divorce will leave its mark on your credit score afterwards. Thus, it is worthwhile to try to get debt relief as soon as possible, and start rebuilding your credit score.
How debts incurred prior to divorce can affect your credit score afterwards?
Though individuals have separate credit score, often spouses take part in financial transactions together which is reported on their credit reports simultaneously. Thus, you’ll have to bear the liability of the debts incurred while you were married, even after you get a legal separation from your spouse. Failure to pay off the dues will bring down your credit score.
You might have taken out a home mortgage loan or an auto loan together. The debt will show on both of your credit records till any one or both of you pay it off fully. You can divide your assets as well as debts, post divorce. However, if your spouse misses regular payments on any of the debts, the creditors will start knocking at your door for the outstanding dues. Your credit score is affected in the same way, if you had been a co-signer on a loan taken out by your spouse, before divorce, and your spouse fails to pay it off.
If you have a joint account or shared credit account, and your spouse behaves irresponsibly after marriage, it will be reflected in your credit report as well.
Tips to maintain your credit score post divorce
To maintain a good credit score even after marital separation, you’ll have to take certain initiatives on your own. The following tips might be able to assist you:
1. Close joint accounts – You must close off all joint accounts that you share with your spouse, when you opt for a marital separation. In this way, you won’t be held responsible if your spouse opens up new lines of credit, or build up his debts.
2. Start rebuilding your credit – Create new individual accounts in your name, to rebuild your credit. Turn all your credit cards or retail accounts into your own name, when you file a divorce. This will help you to protect your credit score.
3. Make regular payments – Regular payments are a must if you want to maintain a good credit score. Pay off your debts gradually, and don’t miss on the payments to get debt relief sooner. Your credit score will gradually improve, as you eliminate all your outstanding dues.
4. Get rid of mortgage – Pay off your mortgage as soon as possible, since a foreclosure brings a great drop to your credit score.
5. Opt for an account freeze – You can even freeze your accounts temporarily after you file a divorce. When the debts are divided post divorce, the outstanding balance will be transferred to the party whom the court holds responsible. You won’t be held liable for your spouse’s share of debt, if he fails to make payments on them.
6. Try to settle your debts – Inform your creditors about your separation. Try to get debt relief by settling the dues at a reduced amount, if you feel that you’ll not be able to pay it off fully. Ensure that the account status on your credit report is updated accordingly. A debt settlement is at least better than a bankruptcy.
Check your credit report thoroughly for any errors or incorrect information. Get debt relief sooner, by living within your means. A poor credit score will decrease your chances of obtaining future credit. Thus, it is essential to maintain a good credit ranking for a relaxed life after divorce.
Alfred Smith is the Community Mentor of Oak View Law Group and has been contributing his suggestions to the Community since 2005. Not just that, he has also made notable contributions through the various articles written on different subjects related to the debt, credit consolidation, bankruptcy etc.