Divorce and Credit Scores
Divorce can be one of the most difficult financial situation that most people ever go through. Spouses no longer have a mutual pool of resources to draw from. Instead the spouses must divide their assets and their debts and do their best to make ends meet using only one income. After divorce, many must transition into new living accommodations, purchase new furniture, or find a new mode of transportation. With all of those transactions, there is usually a credit check involved. It is important to understand the interaction between divorce and your credit score.
First, it is essential to understand that divorce, in and of itself, does not impact your credit score. Merely being divorced or being in the process of a divorce will not lower your score or make it more difficult for you to obtain financing or a loan. The real problem comes in the fact that both spouses’ names are often on credit cards, unsecured debts, or loans associated with assets, such as a car or house. When one spouse agrees or is ordered to take over the payments for one of these, that does not mean that the other spouse is automatically absolved from responsibility. The divorce decree can order one spouse to take over the payments, but that order cannot require the loan holder to remove the other spouse from responsibility regarding the loan. This means that if the spouse ordered to pay stops paying, then then other spouse’s credit will be negatively impacted by the missed or late payments.
To avoid such a problem, one tip is to make sure you monitor your credit closely during and after a divorce. If payments start getting missed, it will show up on your credit report and you will know that you need to take action. Also, if your name is still on a loan, you still have the right to access the documents for the account. You can call and ask the loan holder if payments are current and other relevant questions to protect yourself. If the other spouse falls behind or stops paying, you can return to the divorce court and ask for a variety of relief. You can ask for the asset to be sold, ask for the asset to be transferred to you and to take over payments, or in some cases, ask for the other spouse to be held in contempt. While you are waiting on the court proceedings, it may be advisable to make sure that you keep the payments current on the loan to avoid a negative impact on your credit. You can ask the judge to order your former spouse to reimburse you for any payments you have made on his or her behalf.
Divorce is a financially difficult time and you need an experienced attorney to help you protect your financial future. If you have questions about you’re your divorce, contact us today at (732) 529-6937. to you about your case and how to move forward while protecting yourself.