Among the many things that people worry about when they get divorced, they often worry about their credit and whether it will go down after the divorce. Does divorce affect your credit, and if so, are there things that you can do to minimize the impact of a divorce on your credit?
Divorcing Does Not Lower Your Score
The mere fact that you get divorced does not automatically affect or lower your credit score. The credit reporting companies do not know about and do not care about your divorce. What does affect your credit is not the divorce itself—it is the consequences or “side effects” of your divorce.
For example, one area where people get in trouble with credit is when debt is divided among the divorcing couple. When the party who is supposed to pay a debt under the terms of a marital settlement agreement does not pay that debt, the credit of both parties can be affected.
A divorce agreement may say that the Husband is responsible for paying, for example, the debt related to a Chase card, which both parties signed for and held as a joint account.
But if the Husband does not pay that card as he is supposed to under the agreement, it will get reported to the credit reporting agencies, under both the Husband and Wife. Chase does not care that under your divorce agreement, the debt became the Husband’s responsibility. Chase does not care that th Husband is breaching the divorce agreement.
The court may care, if you enforce the agreement in court, but by the time that happens, your credit could be ruined.
Removing Yourself From Accounts
You can try to remove yourself from credit accounts or close credit accounts under your name. But often, even doing that can have a negative impact on your credit score. However, sometimes that is a necessity.
That is because sometimes a husband or wife still has a card, or a card number, associated with the other ex-spouse. A disgruntled ex can abuse that, charging up accounts that are under the other party’s name. Spouses may do this purposefully to try to hurt the other spouse.
More Debt, Less Income
You also may find that your credit score is affected, as you start to incur debt that you did not have to incur beforehand.
For example, you and your ex may have both co-signed, with your combined incomes, on a single mortgage. Now that you are single, if you want a mortgage, you will have the entirety of that mortgage balance on your credit, but with the benefit of just your income, which can affect your debt-to-income ratio.
The same can be said for anything where you need to get a loan, such as getting a car, or where your credit needs to be pulled, such as if you rent an apartment.
Contact our New Jersey family law and divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC today to see how or if divorce will affect your financial situation.