How Divorce Can Impact Your Credit Score

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how divorce can impact your credit score

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Divorce can be a difficult time for many people.  Whether that be financially, mentally, physically, or spiritually – Divorce can also impact your credit score.

Because of the dramatic rise of divorces in America, there’s never been a more important time to understand just what a divorce can actually do to impact your credit score.

And as you’ll read below, the best way to move past your divorce, is to keep things amicable between you and your spouse.

Did you know that there are over 1 million divorces as of 2021 in the United states alone?

divorce statistics for 2019-2021

Speaking from experience, nasty divorces lead to a difficult time for your family, friends, and loved ones.

Be an adult and do the best you can to work with your spouse to get things done in a way that benefits not only you and him/her, but your family.

Down the road, you’ll realize just how much better you feel when you make it a priority to work with each other instead of against.

Does a Divorce Lower Your Credit Score?

Your credit report doesn’t list your marital status, so whether you are single, married, or divorced has no relevance for your actual score.

That being said, having a joint account and how you handle that joint account during your divorce can impact your credit score.

For example, during a divorce, you might have to split your joint accounts.  Let’s say that you take yourself off one of your revolving debt accounts that has, let’s say a credit limit of $5,500.

Your credit score could possibly drop if that account is removed from your report.

Obviously, the normal scoring factors come into play here.  

Things like: age of account, payment status, and so on.

Another thing to look out for is your credit utilization ratio.  

If you lose an account due to your divorce and separating the joint credit cards, then your credit utilization ratio is more than likely going to rise.

Joint Accounts Will Still Appear on Your Credit Report

Like we mentioned above, joint accounts will still appear on your credit report.  Now, depending on your situation and your divorce, you can either separate the joint accounts, or leave them together.

Meaning, you don’t have to separate the accounts, but that’d be something you have to work out with your spouse prior to finalizing your divorce.

At the end of the day, the question you have to ask yourself is pretty simple…

“Do I trust my ex-husband/wife?”

Leaving both your names on the account, whether you’re listed as a joint owner, authorized user, or a cosigner – You are both still legally responsible for the debt owed to the lender.

That is particularly risky since you will no longer be married and you can’t control what the other person does.

Does a Divorce Decree Void a Contract With a Lender?

The divorce decree does not have full power when it comes to the contracts with your lenders or creditors.

While the divorce decree can provide instructions on who is actually liable for the specific accounts opened during your marriage, it does not break any kind of agreement you have with your lenders.

In other words, the divorce decree is simply a legal document explaining the agreement between the people getting a divorce on who is actually responsible and liable to pay each debt.

And if that person defaults on that debt, both individuals will be responsible for the late payments that will accumulate on that account.

Taking that into consideration, both parties will see the late payments reported on their credit reports.

So, in a way, while the divorce decree is created to explain who will be responsible for which debt that was accumulated during the marriage, it’s still not a guarantee that your credit score will not drop due to the responsible parties' negligence on paying the debt on time.

How Do I Protect My Credit During a Divorce?

If you’ve gone through a divorce, then it’s highly likely that you already understand the importance of your credit score once you start that new chapter in your life.

Whether that’s getting your own home (renting or buying), getting a new car loan, or getting any other kind of loan, you have to be absolutely certain that you aren’t going to get caught out from your ex-spouse’s inability to keep up with the debts they are responsible for.

Here are some great ways to protect your credit score during and after your divorce:

  • Work together with your ex-spouse to split in an amicable manner.  Aside from the debt, it’s never nice to have a nasty divorce in the first place.  Try and work together to pay off and/or close any joint accounts.
  • Convert any accounts to an individual account if you will not be able to pay them off or close them.  We recommend reaching out to each lender/creditor specifically to learn about what might be the best path for you to take
  • Make 100% sure that your ex-spouse is not listed on any of your accounts in any way.  That means that he/she is not an authorized user or a cosigner of any open accounts in your name.  If they are, be certain to fix that by taking them off those accounts.

At the end of the day, you just want to make sure that the accounts that you created during your marriage are paid on time.

Be sure to either pay off or remove your name from any accounts so that you don’t get hurt with derogatory items on your credit report.

As we said, after a divorce, it’s absolutely critical that your credit score remains intact.

Checking Your Credit Reports Often Is Key

Hopefully the above has helped you understand just how a divorce can affect your credit score.

The last point that I want to make is that it’d be a great idea to get into the habit of checking your credit reports frequently.

There are tons of tools out there that will help you not only pull your credit report, but give you all the information you need to understand what you’re looking at.

We recommend Experian or IdentityIQ, but there are a bunch of credit repair tools that will give you a leg up on either fixing your credit or maintaining your credit score.

Conclusion

In today’s world, credit is a financial tool that you can leverage to help you live a better life.
While credit isn’t everything, oftentimes it’s a necessary item needed to live your life with freedom.

Whether that’s wanting a home for yourself.  It doesn’t matter if you want to rent or own, the landlord or lenders will still pull your credit report.

And if your credit isn’t in the best shape, you can check out our recommended credit repair companies.

We’ve tested and tried these companies and think they are the best credit repair companies on the market today.

As always, we welcome any comments or questions.  Please leave your thoughts down below in the comment section.

By jerpy

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By jerpy

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