In an amicable uncontested divorce, how do you keep it from ruining your credit? The first step to maintaining your credit score after a divorce is final is communication. Talk with your former partner about maintaining your current credit score. That way, they know what your goals are. Part of good communication is letting your spouse know you will also be there to help them maintain their credit score too.
It is a good idea to state the points of an agreement in writing. Ask your divorce lawyer to review the agreement you plan to share before you present it. When your divorce is contentious, it is a good idea to talk with your attorney about how to engage with your former partner. Your lawyer should attend any meeting with your former partner. It is always a good idea to have your attorney answer any questions about an agreement.
The next steps for maintaining your credit score involve actions you take on your own. Before, during, and after a divorce, avoid running up large bills that you cannot pay on time. If you do run up such bills, talk with your attorney about your plan to repay them. If you see your former partner running up such bills, immediately contact your attorney about this. Do not let these bills become overdue.
Talk with your family law attorney about closing joint credit cards. This step can limit what your former partner can purchase. Be prepared for arguments that could result from closing lines of credit. Remove your former partner from a credit card that is open only in your name.
If you do not have a credit card that is only in your name, get at least one. You should also let your creditors know you are divorced or in the process of getting divorced. Freeze your credit reports with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This will help prevent your former partner from opening a fraudulent account in your name.
Open a checking account in your name only. This does not ensure that all the money in the account will remain yours. You may have to share some of your earnings in this account to your former partner, so plan accordingly. File new direct deposit paperwork with your employer too. That way your paychecks are deposited into your checking account. Change automatic payment information for bills so that you are making the payments directly out of your checking account.
Change the passwords and security questions for all accounts that are in your name only. Make sure the passwords do not contain information your former partner could guess. Keep records of all these actions and make sure your attorney has them on hand. It is important to have proof that you engaged in all of the above actions honestly and without fraudulent intent.
It is hard to take all of these steps when you are going through a contested divorce. They are very emotionally draining and time-consuming. When you are experiencing stress, it is recommended to seek the help of a mental health professional. You should also ensure that you get enough sleep and pay attention while driving.
These pieces of advice sound like simple common sense, but staying positive and keeping to a healthy routine is important. Such actions help you avoid lapses in judgment, spending sprees, substance abuse, vehicle accidents, and forgetting to pay attention to important deadlines. It is also a good idea to put bill due dates on your calendar. In addition, schedule a monthly 15-minute phone call with your attorney to update them on your financial situation.
These are just some of the many ways to help keep your divorce from ruining your credit score. Paying attention to detail and having a plan are always a good idea. Hopefully using these tools can help your credit score from being harmed while you go through your divorce.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!