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How might getting a divorce impact your credit score?

Most people work very hard to get their credit score up to a good rating. The last thing that you want is for someone else to wreck your hard work. If you are going through a divorce and have joint accounts with your ex, that is exactly what might happen. You should prepare yourself to take a hit to your credit score, and you should be ready to take proactive steps to try to prevent that impact from occurring.

Why would my divorce impact my credit score?

Your credit score is based on how much of your available credit you use, the length of time your accounts have been opened and the manner in which you pay your bills. When you get a divorce, all of these things can change. Your credit limits might go down since you don't have your ex's income and credit. This might mean that you are using more of your available credit. You may have to open new accounts, which would affect the age of the accounts. Your ex might not pay bills on time, which might impact your payment history.

What can I do to protect my credit?

You and your ex can try to get the bills transferred to individual accounts instead of joint accounts when the marriage ends. This would place you as the sole person responsible for the bills that you are ordered to pay. If you can't do this, you would have to either pay off all of the bills or babysit your ex to make sure that payments are made on time. Even if your ex is ordered to pay a bill, you can still be held liable if you are on the account because the divorce decree isn't something that creditors have to abide by since it is a civil order.

As difficult as this might be, it is often better to take the hit to your credit than to stay in a dead marriage. Be sure to think about how your options can impact the rest of your life as you are trying to make decisions during the divorce process.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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