Divorces are stressful. With so much to worry about between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the last thing you want causing you problems is your credit score. But can a divorce actually hurt it? Not directly. However, your divorce can indirectly impact it.
Here’s How Divorce Affects Your Credit Score
Your ex-spouse doesn’t pay your joint bills
If you have any joint credit accounts with your ex-spouse — mortgage, credit cards, etc. — someone has to pay them. The judge might rule that your ex-spouse has to pay on specific accounts after the divorce, but you have to make sure it’s actually happening.
Suppose your ex-spouse isn’t as concerned with their credit as you are. What would be their motivation to pay bills? Especially unsecured bills or secured bills with assets that belong to you? There isn’t any.
The worst part is, if these bills are in your name and they don’t get paid, your credit will suffer. It doesn’t matter who is supposed to pay them, whoever’s name is on the account is going to deal with the credit troubles.
Hopefully, you and your ex-spouse are on good enough terms that you’ll both do your part financially. But if that’s not happening, you need to make payments on any bills your ex-spouse isn’t covering, regardless of who’s supposed to be responsible for them.
You’re unable to pay your bills
If your divorce was messy, you may have spent a pretty penny on an attorney, putting you in a tough spot. Or, if your ex-spouse was the primary provider, you may now have trouble covering the bills on your own. These scenarios can hurt your credit score if they cause late payments or high credit usage.
Payment history is the most important factor in credit scores, and anything less than 100% on-time payments can hurt your credit. You may see your credit score drop if your current financial situation makes it impossible for you to pay your bills on time.
If you’re supplementing your income (or lack thereof) with credit cards, you may be using too much of your credit. High credit utilization, which is essentially any balance-to-limit ratio over 30%, can decrease your credit score and limit your options financially.
Here’s what you can do to free up more cash to pay bills — increase your income or decrease your expenses. Ideally, you should be able to do both.
To earn more and spend less, consider working overtime, taking a second job or freelancing during your free time. Completely cut or limit unnecessary expenses by evaluating your frivolous spending. For example, you could cut cable and subscription services, and limit restaurant and personal care spending.
Your ex-spouse is vengeful and has access to your credit accounts
While some spouses are able to split with minimum drama, there are many divorces that aren’t so amicable. And if your ex-spouse is one of the angry ones who has access to your credit accounts, they could rack up debt in your name just because they can.
This is most common with authorized users because they’re not liable for payment. So if your spouse is an authorized user on one of your credit cards, they can spend as they please without consequences. And being unable to pay off this debt can hurt your credit score.
Keeping this from happening is simple. Remove one another from all individual credit accounts as soon as possible. Even the most sensible people act out when grieving the end of a marriage, so don’t just assume your ex-spouse will handle the divorce graciously.
This is how divorce affects your credit score – now see how you can build your credit after the divorce is final.
Do you have more questions regarding how divorce affects your credit score? Let us know, and enlist the help of Go Clean Credit to improve your credit score.
No matter what your situation, Go Clean Credit has a solution. We have many credit repair programs that are available to help you overcome your credit situation and place you back on the path to financial success. Real credit restoration is not a one size fits all model and we tailor your needs to the right program, but most people can start for just $99 per month.
We have fixed price programs that get you back on track in as little as 5 months, debt resolution solutions, programs geared toward people who have had recent short sales or foreclosures and many others. Help is just a free phone call away or you can fill out an appointment request. Contact Go Clean Credit to schedule a free consultation today.