Does divorce impact your credit score? Not directly, no. Yet many other issues that become associated with the process can muddle up the financial works – and therefore indirectly impact your credit score
Specifically, you’ll want to avoid situations where the debt of one partner falls on the other. If you haven’t addressed debt liability in joint accounts, and one partner misses on payments, the other can held accountable by lenders/creditors. It can even go as far as bankruptcy – if one partner defaults on their debts and joint accounts, a bankruptcy can mean that the debts are discharged onto their former partner.
A divorce decree is important. It defines who is responsible for accounts that are joint or were opened during the marriage. It can shift responsibility depending on what you and your former partner decide, but it can’t change the contracts with the lenders or creditors themselves.
Unfortunately, the divorce decree does not impact credit reports. One good way of handling this is to do a balance transfer from joint credit cards onto individually held credit cards. This helps create a new contract for which you are each responsible. You can even negotiate this in the divorce proceedings. If one partner takes on more debt individually, a fair negotiation would give them a corresponding increase in the split of your assets.
It may seem like you get the short end of the stick if you take on repayment of the debt, which is why you’ll want this reflected in the asset split, but there is one benefit. This is a good way to rebuild your credit after divorce. By paying down a balance transfer, you can build your credit back up.
Keep records of what you buy and how. It’s a good idea to leave joint debts behind as quickly as you can. Sometimes, an angry spouse will seek to punish their former partner by racking up debt, blind to the fact they’re injuring themselves as well.
You don’t want to have to rebuild your credit after divorce because you weren’t prepared or didn’t communicate. Divorce attorneys and mediators are both skilled in the more difficult situations. Be blunt and straightforward about your debt situation when you speak with them.