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How Divorce Can Impact Your Credit Score

Divorce is a major life event that can have a wide range of financial implications, including the potential to impact your credit score. Here are some ways that divorce can affect your credit and steps you can take to protect your credit during this transition:

A graph showing a credit score over time.

  1. Joint Accounts: If you have joint accounts with your former spouse, such as credit cards, mortgages, or car loans, you are both responsible for paying back the debt. Even if your divorce settlement specifies that your ex-spouse is responsible for the debt, if your name is on the account, creditors can still hold you accountable if payments are missed. To avoid this risk, try to close joint accounts and refinance any outstanding debt in one person's name.

  2. Late Payments: The stress and upheaval of divorce can make it easy to overlook bills and payments, which can cause late or missed payments to show up on your credit report. This can have a negative impact on your credit score and make it harder to get approved for loans or credit in the future. To avoid late payments, make a budget and set up automatic payments whenever possible.

  3. Asset Division: During a divorce, assets such as homes, cars, and investments may be divided between you and your ex-spouse. This can impact your credit score if you are awarded assets that come with debt, such as a mortgage or car loan. Be sure to review all assets and debts during the divorce settlement process to understand how they will impact your credit.

  4. Identity Theft: Unfortunately, divorce can sometimes lead to identity theft or fraud if one party attempts to open new credit accounts or misuse existing accounts. Protect your credit by monitoring your credit report regularly and reporting any suspicious activity to the credit bureaus.

  5. Lack of Credit History: If you shared most or all of your credit accounts with your former spouse, you may have a limited credit history or none at all. This can make it challenging to get approved for credit on your own. To start building your credit, consider opening a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on someone else's account.

Divorce is a challenging process, but taking steps to protect your credit can help ensure that you have a strong financial foundation for your new beginning. If you're struggling to navigate the financial aspects of divorce, consider speaking with a financial advisor or credit counselor for guidance and support.

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