It’s normal to be emotional when you’re going through a divorce — and that makes it hard to keep your mind on practical concerns. However, paying attention to certain practical issues will make your post-divorce recovery a lot easier to manage.
In particular, you need to pay attention to what’s happening with your credit rating as a part of your divorce. What you do — and what your spouse does — can have a major impact on your credit score and affect your financial state for years after the divorce is over.
To make sure that you come out of the situation with as little damage as possible, here’s what you need to remember:
1. Know your debts
You may have debts you aren’t even aware you own — especially if your spouse has taken control of the finances over the years. Get a credit report from all three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) and make sure you know all of your obligations.
2. Close joint accounts
Put a freeze on joint credit cards and joint checking accounts so that no new charges can be accrued. That way, you don’t have to worry about any surprises creeping up on you.
3. Refinance joint debt
Do not agree to keep any joint debts — even if your spouse agrees to pay them off as part of your divorce settlement. Refinance all the debt you are keeping as part of your split into your own name and insist that your spouse do the same.
Part of your credit score is dependent on how much debt is actually in your name — and having debt that isn’t really yours hanging over your head after the split will slow your financial recovery. In addition, if your spouse fails to pay what he or she owed, it will impact your credit negatively.
Dividing the marital assets and debts is a large part of the divorce process — the more you know, the better you can protect your interests!