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Credit and Divorce

Don Pelletier

With over 36 years as a professional Realtor, and the 2,200 San Diego home sellers and buyers Don has represented, he has a long-standing tradition an...

With over 36 years as a professional Realtor, and the 2,200 San Diego home sellers and buyers Don has represented, he has a long-standing tradition an...

Mar 13 4 minutes read

My “X” ruined my credit! Are you going through a divorce and are overwhelmed with the process? Are you feeling a little anxious because you don’t know where to start with protecting your credit and you don’t want it ruined because of your divorce? Here are 3 things you should know to protect your credit. 

I’ve helped hundreds of individuals over the years to get their credit in order after a divorce to buy a house. But here’s the thing, many of the reasons that their credit needs work is because they didn’t take a few precautionary steps during their divorce. Yes, that’s right, the time to protect your credit is during your divorce not after the dust has settled. 

Here are 3 major things that you need to know or do about your credit to protect it during your divorce: 1. First thing you should know about credit is that Creditors do not honor divorce decrees. This is an important fact and probably the number one reason people receive bad credit. They think that because their divorce decree states that their “X” is responsible for a specific account. If your x-spouse makes a late payment on that account, it will still reflect on your credit. Even if your decree states that your “X” is responsible, the lender/creditor on that account didn’t agree to it. Your lender will still expect both of you to pay back the money you borrowed, plus interest as you initially agreed, and will report the account history appropriately. 

2. The second thing you should know is that joint accounts will stay on your credit report until they are paid off or closed. When going through a divorce, you will want to understand the difference between being an account holder and being an authorized user. If the account you have opened is joint, then both you and your spouse are financially responsible for the account. If you are an authorized user, you can use the account but are not financially obligated to pay it. Lastly, if you are the primary account holder, you are responsible for the account. Understanding this will help you in the future regardless of what your divorce decree states. It is in your best interest to obtain a copy of your credit reports and contact every creditor that appears in your reports. Find out if the account is joint, if you are the account holder, or if you are an authorized user. Close joint credit cards and remove your ex as an authorized user from any credit cards that are open in your name only.

3. The third thing you should do to protect your credit is to keep in communication with your creditors. Make sure that all the creditors that are reporting to the 3 credit bureaus have your updated address and that you are getting monthly statements. You will want to have a discussion with them about removing an “X” if they are an authorized user. Freeze your credit reports with all three credit reporting agencies to prevent a vindictive ex-spouse from opening fraudulent accounts in your name. Understanding these 3 items will give you a better opportunity to save your credit from an exceedingly difficult situation. If you need to discuss these items further, please feel free to call or email me at 858-336-1114 or [email protected].




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