When couples start thinking about divorce, they may be more focused on their emotions than on their finances. Because of this, many people find that their credit score drops significantly after their divorce and will continue to negatively affect them for years after the divorce. Approximately 38 percent of people surveyed by Debt.com, with Moneywise.com, said that their credit score dropped more than 50 points after their separation.
To protect your credit, experts advise you to take action before you even file for divorce. The first step is often requesting your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to get a full list of accounts attached to your name. If your spouse was added to any of your credit card accounts as an authorized user, you may want to remove them to prevent them from racking up additional charges on the account. At the same time, you will want to remove yourself as an authorized user from their accounts as well. By doing this, your credit will not be affected by their lack of payment.
If you are afraid your spouse may act out against you by opening new lines of credit in your name, you can also freeze your credit for a set period of time. You can open it up temporarily to apply for new credit then close it again.
As for joint accounts, you both will be held accountable for any debts on those accounts during the divorce, and any missed payments can hurt both of your credit scores. If your joint card is paid off, experts advise divorcing couples to shut down any joint accounts as soon as possible, once you have equally divided the rewards on the card. Until you both agree to shut down the account, you should monitor account activity and look for any excessive charges made by your spouse without your knowledge.
Failure to monitor your credit score can make your life a lot more difficult in the years after your divorce. A divorce attorney can make sure you take the right steps in protecting your future.