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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:35

Protect your credit in the event of divorce

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If you are facing divorce this, you need to take care to protect your credit.

Most people don’t know that court decrees assigning payment responsibilities for joint loans are not honored by lenders. This incorrect assumption of being off the hook for financial obligations can result in payments being missed and your credit score being tarnished for years. However, you can limit your exposure to this type of risk this if your credit is safeguarded before filing for divorce.

If you and your spouse have joint accounts, you should do your best to change them to individual accounts so that splitting up your financial responsibilities will be easier. This may or may not require your spouse’s cooperation. It will depend on how the debt is titled and on the requirements of the creditor. However, these steps can save years of credit woes in the future.

You should begin this process with your credit card accounts. Payments on credit card debt are the most often missed, as opposed to home and vehicle loans. Those loans are the second thing you should work on.

However, refinancing your mortgage and car loans will be more difficult, as banks or mortgage companies will likely require additional transaction costs to refinance the loan. Selling the car or house and splitting the money could be an easier method, which would guarantee a vengeful ex-spouse wouldn’t damage your credit.

Opting out of receiving pre-screened offers for credit or insurance is also advisable, as a former spouse could be tempted to apply for a loan in your name in order to ruin your credit.

Of course, this information is not specific legal advice for your own situation. Rather, it is general information. Before taking any action, you should discuss these issues with your lawyer.