Can Divorce Ruin My Credit Score?
It is no secret that going through a divorce can wreak havoc on a person?s finances. The cost of filing for divorce and the legal bills from the divorce process can quickly add up, especially if it a contentious divorce with lots of court dates in front of the judge.
For the spouse who stays in the marital home, there is suddenly the reality of the entire financial burden of running the home now on that spouse?s one income, instead of the combined income when married. For the spouse who left the marital home, there is the large expense of setting up a new home ? whether a down payment on a home or the required deposits of a new apartment. There is also the expense of furnishing that home and the purchases of household needs.
With all of these new ? and solo ? expenses, it is no surprise that a person?s financial well-being may take a serious hit from the divorce. One of those hits may be the person?s credit score, depending on the circumstances of the divorce and how marital assets and debts were divided.
How Does Divorce Affect Credit Scores
The divorce itself does not have an effect on a person?s credit score. Divorce does not show up on credit reports and your marital status is not used in any way when determining your credit score. It is the financial struggling during the divorce process that could begin to lower a person?s score.
When your income suddenly goes from two paychecks to one paycheck, you may begin to miss mortgage, vehicle, or credit card payments. Even paying after the due date can cause your credit score to begin to slip.
In order to help minimize this effect, there are steps you may be able to take in order to work within your reduced household income. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce and your living situation, you may want to consider selling your home if the cost of monthly mortgage payments and other expenses is just too much to keep up with on your pay.
It is also a good idea to try to avoid using credit cards as much as possible; although this may be difficult if you do not really have enough cash flow. That is why it is a good idea to create a budget and figure out which bills are the important ones to keep up to help maintain or rebuild your credit. Make sure to close all joint accounts you currently have with your spouse because even if he or she runs up bills, you could still be legally responsible for the account.
Consider speaking with a financial planner who may be able to offer suggestions on ways to help rebuild your savings and give you more funds to work with. If the situation becomes too stressful and you are simply unable to get back on your feet financially, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney about filing for bankruptcy. In the event you have any legal questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact an attorney, like a family law attorney Plano, TX relies on, to ensure you are preparing correctly.
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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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