Getting a divorce? Things to consider in protecting your credit score
Divorce can be an emotionally draining process. Not only does it take a toll on your mental health, but it can also affect your finances. When it comes to credit, there are many things to keep in mind if you're going through a divorce. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Chris Fisher from My Credit Guy. Chris is an expert on credit and shared with me some of the common mistakes people make and tips to avoid them if you're going through a divorce in Brown County, Wisconsin.
Divorce can affect your credit score
Chris explained that one of the most important things to keep in mind is that a divorce decree does not supersede a preexisting contract. If you went into a joint contract with your ex-spouse before your divorce was finalized, you are both legally liable for that account. This means that even if your ex-spouse was awarded the house, the cabin, or the car loan, if you're still legally responsible as a co-signer, you could see your credit score affected if they do something out of spite.
Its important to protect your credit when going through divorce
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and Chris sees it all the time. An ex-spouse might add a 30-day late payment to the mortgage, for example, just to ruin the other person's credit. To avoid this, getting refinanced off that debt before your divorce is finalized is crucial. If you're on the mortgage, you have to get legally refinanced off that debt. However, sometimes you won't be able to do that unless you have another party that comes in and co-signs on your ex-spouse. This is because when you go into a mortgage, you usually run both credits so that your incomes are on that note. When you take half of that income away, the creditor will not let it slide. You'll need to find another co-signer who can help your ex-spouse out.
Active monitoring of your credit score is vital when getting divorced
Chris recommends that if you're going through the divorce process, you should get a tri-merge credit report, where you get copies of all three bureaus. That way, you can monitor your credit score and see if there are any changes that could negatively affect you. You should continually monitor your credit score, especially if your ex-spouse starts doing things out of spite. Catching it as soon as possible is critical because the credit score gets worse and worse as you progress from a 30-day late payment to a charge-off.
Locking your credit is a great option to not overlook
Finally, Chris suggests that you put a lock on your personal credit to prevent your ex-spouse from doing anything that could negatively affect your credit score. As long as you're not looking to use your credit anytime soon, this is a good option to consider.
Divorce is not easy, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can protect your credit score and finances. Thanks to Chris Fisher from MyCreditGuy.com for sharing his expertise and insights on this important topic.
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