Getting divorced can be one of the most complex things you will have to deal with. If you have children, there will be issues of who has custody and perhaps visitation rights. You or your lawyers will have to figure out how to divide your finances, as well as your furniture and personal belongings. And, the more stuff you have and the more you and your spouse earn, the less easy things will be. But there is one piece that is easy to overlook and that is your credit score.
Why Your Credit Score Will Be Affected
Despite what many people think, a divorce will not hurt your credit score. This is because your credit score and your spouse's score are different. It's not like you have a credit score together and getting divorced will lower your score by a 50%.
However, there are several reasons why a divorce will hurt your credit score. First, your expenses may go up since you will no longer be splitting them. This will make it more difficult for you to keep up with your bills. Second, it is likely that you and your spouse had some debt when you divorced.
If they are not paid quickly, then one of you will be responsible. If that person doesn't pay them, both your credit data and, ultimately, your credit scores will be damaged, forcing you to start from scratch with your credit after you're no longer together. And third, the hard truth is that identity theft can occur.
Unfortunately, it is all too common for a spouse to "borrow" the ex's data to obtain new utilities, new credit cards, a car loan, etc.
Divorce Can Lead to Broken Banking
It is also sad but true that a legal breakup can lead to bankruptcy. If this happens to you, it could be because your finances were stretched beyond the limit, as you must now pay new expenses such as alimony or child care. But some people are actually pushed into bankruptcy by their ex-spouse.
As an example of this, let's say you owned a house with your ex-spouse but you can't sell it because it is upside down. Your ex agrees to pay the mortgage but then fails to do so. If you want to keep the house, you might have to file for bankruptcy in order to save it. Or just to get rid of the responsibility of having to pay it.
There are many things that need to be taken care of after a divorce. This could help you miss a bill. And believe it or not, just one late or missed payment could cause what would otherwise be your very good credit score to drop by 50, 75 points or more.
After your process, you should have good credit to have a place to live and get new utilities without having to make a payment. In addition, the blemish on your credit report from missing a payment can come back to haunt you, as it will be on your credit data for seven years.
Making Your Credit Score A Priority
One of the things you should do after you are no longer together is to get your credit data. They are available without payment from all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. They are also available for free at the website www.annualcreditreport.com.
While this site allows you to get all three credit reports simultaneously, most financial experts say it's best to have one at a time every four months. This becomes a way to track your credit throughout the year without having to pay a service for your credit history.
There are several reasons why you should get your credit data. First, it is so that you can see all of your debts. Any debts that were the task of the two of you should be paid off as quickly as possible. This is because you are legally responsible for paying debts together and not being in a relationship does not change that.
Finally, there may be errors on your credit reports that lower your credit score. When reviewing your credit data, look for purchases you don't think you made or don't remember doing business with. If there are errors, you should talk to the appropriate credit bureau. You should do this in writing to have on paper. If you can remove the erroneous items from your credit, your credit score will should be recovered.