One of the most important things you can do during the divorce process is to take steps to protect your own personal credit rating and score. Hopefully, your divorce will not be an all-out war as finances, assets and debts are divvied up. If it does, though, being proactive in guarding your credit will pay off big time down the road.
Steps to Protecting Your Credit During Divorce
- You should get copies of your credit report the minute you begin thinking of divorce or just after you’ve been served with papers. The report is free if you haven’t received a copy in 12 months or more, but even if you do have to pay a little bit, it’s definitely worth it.
Go through your credit report very carefully so that you can clearly mark which debts are strictly yours.
- Begin the process of divorcing all joint accounts you share with your spouse. Chances are that you’ll only be able to fully close accounts that have a zero balance, but you can definitely contact all of your credit card companies and banks to request a freeze be put on any joint accounts with them.
Follow-up your contact with a written letter, again explaining your wishes that the accounts be closed or frozen. Make and keep a copy of the letter as well as any notes you can make of your phone conversations with them.
- If your spouse is an authorized user on an account that is solely under your name, remove them immediately.
- Make sure you know exactly what debts you are solely responsible for, and rigorously monitor the debts your spouse is in charge of. If she is late on a payment, you should contact the lender immediately and explain the situation.
- Sign up for a credit monitoring program straight away to protect your identity. While we hope your divorce is not a contentious one, there are many, many tales of couples who emerge from divorce as the bitterest of enemies. Remember, she knows your Social Security number and birth date, so there’s a lot of damage she could do to you.
- Make a budget for your post-divorce life. Divorce is often an incredibly stressful and life-changing event. Financial worries can make things even worse. No matter how you slice it, your finances will be different from here on. You need to develop a budget that will enable you to spend less than you make.
San Diego’s Men’s Legal Center Can Help You
Because there’s so many things to consider and numerous decisions to be made during any divorce process, you need the expertise of an attorney skilled in family law and divorce who can help you make the best decisions. We invite you to contact the Men’s Legal Center in San Diego today at (619) 234-3838.