3 Important Steps to Protecting your Credit Score During Divorce

By | 2017-09-29T15:53:39+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Divorce, Divorce & Finances|0 Comments

Throughout the many emotionally-charged issues surrounding a divorce, you can’t forget to protect your credit rating, because it will have lasting implications on your post-divorce life. Here are three preliminary steps to help you move forward with your financial life, and keep your credit rating intact.

  1. Order Your Credit Report.

It is tremendously important that you know every debt that stands in your name during a divorce. Reading through your credit report is a good idea anyway, but it is especially important during a divorce. Not only will it remind you of what you owe and to whom, but it will also jog your memory as to any old or forgotten joint accounts.

In addition, it is paramount that you provide your divorce lawyer with your credit report as soon as possible. Together, you and your lawyer can make note of which credit cards, bank loans, mortgages and home equity lines of credit to which your spouse has access, and which accounts can be frozen or closed, depending on the laws in your state.

  1. Close Joint Credit Cards, and Make Note of Joint Bank Accounts.

During a divorce, it is important that you close or freeze all joint credit card accounts that you have with your ex-spouse. First, you should call your credit card company, and state your intention to close the account, and that you will not be responsible for any future charges. It is important to follow up with a written letter stating the details of your conversation, and confirming your intention to close the account. In the case where there is a balance on the account and you are unable to close it, most credit card companies will allow you to freeze the account to prevent any further charges. Because you and your spouse are most likely jointly responsible for all credit card balances that were charged during the marriage, it is important to prevent your spouse from making any new charges.

When it comes to joint checking and savings accounts, it is important that you speak with your divorce lawyer before attempting to close the account or withdrawing any money, because each state has specific rules regarding this.

  1. The Divorce Decree Won’t Solve Everything.

A divorce decree is the court’s final judgment that your marriage is officially over. Depending on the state, a divorce decree will summarize who is taking responsibility for certain debt and who is taking possession of certain assets. Because the divorce decree is between you, your ex-spouse and the court, your lines of credit will not be notified of the pending divorce. The credit card company does not care about the terms of your divorce because they have a contract with you to timely pay your credit card bill and will take action against you if you don’t pay it, which will hurt your credit score. Therefore, it is important that you take action before matters get out of hand and speak with an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your interests.

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