What does divorce do to your credit score?
Every marriage is different. The way you and your ex handled finances during the relationship may determine how a divorce will affect credit scores for both of you. To protect yourself during the process, consider the following tips:
Close joint accounts
If your name is on an account, it is tied to your credit score's health. Whether or not you used your ex's credit card, the balance is still your responsibility in the eyes of the creditor. Finances and debts are divided in divorce court, so prepare yourself by making a list of credit charges and other bills that are not yours. In the meantime, close joint credit accounts or ask creditors to remove your name from accounts where you are designated an "authorized user."
Open new accounts
Establishing a new life includes establishing an individual credit identity. Open individual accounts during the divorce process to help yourself build new lines of credit and create security in the days ahead.
Make your case in court
The single life is difficult after divorce, especially when it concerns splitting marital finances. Ensure that you are paying your fair share (and no more) by obtaining good legal counsel and sticking to a proven list of "mine" vs. "yours." The effort may help you avoid future credit score damage.
Some accounts cannot be separated immediately, leaving you at the mercy of your ex's spending habits and level of responsibility. For example, although a judge may rule that your ex is responsible for the mortgage payment, your creditor's files may reflect things differently. For that reason, it's important to ensure that any accounts with your name attached are paid. Although a judge can punish your ex for straying from the divorce decree, you'll likely suffer credit score punishment in the meantime. Practice vigilance to keep your score safe.