You and your spouse have finalized your divorce agreement and gone your separate ways. However, he or she may still impact your life, and not for the better, through your credit rating. Sometimes an ex is simply irresponsible with money. In other cases, he or she may deliberately harm you financially.
If the two of you still have joint debt, such as a mortgage, the divorce agreement will likely stipulate who is responsible for the payments or how much each person is responsible for. However, even if your spouse is obligated under the agreement to make the payments and the loan is in your name as well, your credit will be impacted if he or she is negligent in that responsibility. The same holds true for other payment obligations such as bills.
You can help protect your credit by refinancing mortgages and other joint debt to remove one person’s name. It’s also wise to take your name off of shared services that you no longer use.
Besides debts, it’s important to look at separating joint bank accounts and credit cards. If your ex-spouse is still an authorized signer, he or she can wipe out an account or rack up a significant amount of charges on a credit card. Either of these can leave the other spouse in dire financial straits and ruin his or her credit rating. It’s best to consult with your Texas family law attorney to determine the best way to get one of your names off of these accounts and cards without violating the divorce agreement.
If you are left as the sole owner or signer on any accounts, credit cards or loans that were once jointly owned, you need to take one additional step. Change your log-in, passwords and other access information to help ensure that he or she can no longer access them.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score for a while following your divorce to help ensure that your ex isn’t doing anything out of maliciousness or irresponsibility that will impact it. You’ll likely have enough emotional and financial challenges as you start your life as a newly-single person without having a poor credit rating weighing you down.
Source: GOBankingRates, “5 Ways Divorce Can Affect Your Credit Score” Morgan Quinn, Feb. 27, 2015