Don't Let Divorce Affect Your Credit Score

Divorce can break your heart, and ruin your credit. Before parting ways, divorcing couples must untangle any assets acquired during the marriage. Ask The Advisor put together a useful guide for any couple unwilling to wait until death to do them part:

  • Assess Your Responsibilities: Be aware of your liabilities, and make sure you and your ex-spouse take sole responsibility for your respective assets.
  • Dissolve All Joint Accounts: Open your own accounts and dissolve any joint accounts. Don’t let any property or account stay bound to more than one name.
  • Sell The House: If the mortgage bears your name, you are responsible if the house goes into foreclosure. Sell the house and split the profits instead.
  • Divide Any Shared Cash: With the help of lawyer, split any remaining liquid assets.
  • Document Everything: Courts love documents, as will any creditor that pops up down the road.
  • We also asked our resident divorce expert for advice:

    Divorce is more than a legal event; it is also financial reallocation of the divorcing couple’s assets and liabilities. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a former spouse to discover after the divorce that they were unaware of all the marital assets that should have been shared, or an ex-spouse’s debt that they remain responsible for. Therefore, it is imperative that divorcing spouses each consult with an attorney to ensure the deal they bargained for is truly what they want to get.

    Even if you follow all these steps, and consult with an attorney, it’s still a good idea to keep a close eye on your credit report to ensure that creditors aren’t holding you responsible for your ex’s debts.

    How Will My Divorce Affect My Credit? [Ask The Advisor]
    (Photo: billjacobus1)

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    1. Buran says:

      It’s simple if you do what my ex and I did: just don’t get any joint accounts except for a checking account (which we closed and split, as mentioned). You don’t always need to have a joint account except perhaps a mortgage/car.

    2. Havok154 says:

      I read this as saying: Avoid marriage; Stay debt free with good credit.

    3. Hawk07 says:

      Shouldn’t the consumerist teach us how to hide assets before or during marriage? What kind of consumer advocates are you!?!?

    4. Jon Parker says:

      Divorce is more than a legal event? Of course it is — it’s the end to everything you’d once planned to build your life around. Sheesh.

      I ruined my credit in divorce, mostly because I was emotionally upset and just wanted to get away. I let her keep everything. A year or so later I regretted it, but at the time I wasn’t thinking clearly.

    5. 7livesleft says:

      This article is great for a perfect world…you know, spouces agreeing to not be married, kindly sitting together and going over the paperwork, shaking hands, getting their lawyers involved to file the proper paper work…you know, the way it rarely ever happens.

      Usually one spouce will give up and try to get things started, while the other runs up credit cards, buys things on credit in both names, generally screws up both lives just to get at the other one.

    6. chungkuo says:

      Make sure you avoid the kind of attorney who advertises on the side of a van. My “quick and cheap” divorce ended up being anything but. My lawyer never filed the division of assests and debt paperwork, and when confronted with that fact claimed that he had never heard of such a thing. Consequently I ended up getting sued for $10,000 by Ford for my ex’s car that she decided to stop paying on.

    7. V-effekt says:

      Avoid joint accounts in the first place. What’s the need other than a symbolic gesture? Love means never having to say ‘joint account’.

    8. beyond says:

      Veffekt, for the same reason I don’t have 2 personal checking accounts. Its easier to pay bills when all the money goes into one.