Worried about protecting your credit while going through a divorce? Possibly overwhelmed with the process? Are you feeling a little anxious because you don’t know where to start with protecting your credit and you don’t want it ruined because of your divorce? Here are 3 things you should know to protect your credit.
I am a certified real estate divorce specialist and here are a few things couples should know to get their credit in order after a divorce. But here’s the thing, many of the reasons that their credit needed work was because they didn’t take a few precautionary steps during their divorce. The time to protect your credit is during your divorce, and NOT after the dust has settled.
Here are 3 major things that you need to know or do about your credit to protect it during your divorce:
- First thing you should know about credit is that creditors do not honor divorce decrees. This is an important fact! People think that if their divorce decree states that their ex is responsible for a specific account, their credit won’t be affected but if your ex-spouse makes a late payment on that account, it will still reflect on your credit if you are still on the account. Even if your decree states that your ex is responsible, the lender/creditor on that account didn’t agree to it. Your lender will still expect both of you to pay back the money you borrowed, plus interest, as you initially agreed and will report the account history appropriately.
- Second thing you should know is that joint accounts will stay on your credit report until they are paid off or closed. When going through a divorce, you will want to understand the difference between being an account holder and being an authorized user. If the account you have opened is joint, then both you and your spouse are financially responsible for the account. If you are an authorized user, you have the ability to use the account, but are not financially obligated to pay it, and lastly, if you are the primary account holder, you are responsible for the account. Understanding this will help you in the future regardless of what your divorce decree states. It is in your best interest to obtain a copy of your credit reports and contact every creditor that is appearing on your reports. Find out if the account is joint, you are the account holder or if you are an authorized user. Close joint credit cards and remove your ex as an authorized user from any credit cards which are open in your name only.
- The third thing you should do to protect your credit is to keep communications with your creditors. Make sure that all of the creditors that are reporting to the 3 credit bureaus have your updated address and you are getting monthly statements. You will want to have a discussion with them about removing an ex if they are an authorized user. Freeze your credit reports with all three credit reporting agencies to prevent a vindictive ex-spouse from opening fraudulent accounts in your name. Understanding these 3 items will give you a better opportunity to save your credit from an exceedingly difficult situation.
I’m a Top Producing Realtor® in the OAKLAND / BERKELEY / EAST BAY AREA. I’ve been in the Oakland / Berkeley / East Bay since I came up to do my undergrad at UC Berkeley (a long time ago!), with a short stint at UC Davis while getting my Master’s. I take my duties as a Realtor® and Fiduciary very seriously, I enjoy educating my sellers and buyers along the way. Putting People, Before Profit.
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