In our last post we began to talk about how to protect your credit after property division and divorce. In the last post we spoke about the importance of a post-divorce budget and the importance of identifying debts and credit lines. In this post we will continue to talk about keeping your credit score healthy after divorce.
After you have gone through and labeled your credit report, find the authorized user accounts where your partner is an authorized user and can charge to the account but is not responsible for paying the debt. To remove your partner from the account call the issuer of the credit card and ask for your partner's name to be removed. You can also remove yourself from your partner's authorized accounts by calling the credit card issuer. By removing your partner from authorized accounts, they will not be able to influence your credit score.
Settling joint accounts can be tougher. According to the director of public education at Experian, a credit reporting company, a divorce decree does not change the contract you have with a lender and the only way to remove an individual from a joint account is by working with the lender. The easiest way to address joint accounts is to pay them off and close them before divorce. If paying and closing them is not possible, then ask the lender to turn them into individual accounts. An example would be to transfer the balance of a joint account to an account with one partner's name on it.
If the joint accounts are kept but responsibilities are divided ask the lender to send a copy of the joint account's statement each month. Also remember that you are entitled to request a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies.
Finally, if your partner is not making payments on accounts you have discussed, then contact your divorce attorney immediately.
Source: foxbusiness.com, "How to protect your credit during divorce," Aug. 10, 2011