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Property DivisionHow to Prevent Divorce From Hurting Your Credit

January 22, 2008

Your credit rating could be hurt by divorce. As part of divorce, you distribute not only your assets, but your debts and obligations as well.

An in-artfully drawn marital agreement may provide that one spouse will assume the liability for a joint debt. However, an agreement apportioning joint liability between you and your spouse is not binding on the creditor. The creditor can attempt to collect the debt from either or both parties. As pointed out in a Fox Business article, “The mistaken assumption that you’re off the hook for financial obligations can result in a series of missed payments that may trash your credit score for years.”

A well written agreement would provide that the debt is fully paid or transferred into the name of the spouse who is going to be responsible for paying it.

The Fox article does provide some useful information about protecting your credit rating:.

Begin by converting your credit card accounts. People most often miss payments on this type of debt, rather than the loans that keep a roof over their head and wheels under their feet.

Next, work on refinancing your mortgage and your car loan. Granted, this is going to be more difficult, because the bank will want just one person to accept the loan in his or her name — which may not be possible if that person’s salary isn’t enough to qualify for the loan. In cases like these, it might be easier to sell the car or the house, split the money and move on. That way, you’re guaranteed not to have credit damages caused by a vengeful ex-spouse.

“Remember that when you’re getting divorced from your spouse, you’re also divorcing yourself from emotional attachment to assets,” Ulzheimer said.
You would also be wise to opt out of receiving pre-screened offers for credit or insurance. A spiteful ex-wife or ex-husband may be tempted to apply for a loan in your name just to ruin your credit. Go to the consumer credit reporting industry’s official Web site for details. Visit the Web site.

Finally, start planning for all this at least six months to a year before you file, or as early as possible before the divorce gets ugly. Once any problems begin, you and your embittered other half will have a hard time thinking logically. If this seems like a lot of work at the front end of your separation, remember that it will save you up to 10 years of credit-related headaches in the aftermath

The information contained in this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice; there is no warranty on this information and it does not in any way constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. All individuals are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their specific situation and facts. 


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