Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult life events to endure. So many things have changed, and it can be difficult to stay positive. Trying to navigate this new territory can be confusing, but there are a few financial things that need to remain constant. You may be asking, “how does a divorce affect your credit score,” and more importantly, “does divorce hurt your credit score?”
So, does divorce hurt your credit? No, the actual process of getting divorced will have no impact on your actual credit score. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, do not report if you are single, married, or divorced.
Here Is What They Do Report On:
- Do You Pay Your Bills On Time?
- Have You Applied a lot of Credit Recently?
- Are You Carrying a lot of Debt?
- Are You Close to the Limit on Your Credit Cards?
- Do You Carry High Credit Card Balances?
“Your credit report doesn’t state whether you are married, single or divorced, so changing your marital status has no impact on your credit. However, how you handle any joint accounts with your former spouse can have an effect on both your credit report and theirs.”Experian
Does Divorce Hurt Your Credit?
The most important factor in learning how to increase your credit score after divorce is to close all joint accounts, and remove your ex as an authorized user from all of your accounts.
Imagine this scenario… you spend the months and years following your divorce repairing or improving your credit score. You worked hard as hell. Then, you receive a letter from your old credit card company informing you that your ex was late on a payment, or worse yet, multiple payments. Your credit score plummets. Now it feels like you are starting back at square one.
Once you have closed all joint accounts and removed each other as an authorized user from your respective accounts, you want to start to rebuild your credit independently. I suggest opening up one or two individual credit accounts to begin to build up your score. Use the account conservatively, and pay your balances in full each month. This will help you increase your credit score fairly quickly.
Next, make sure to check your credit report regularly. In the midst of going through a divorce, it is easy to forget something along the way. Make sure you are regularly checking in on your credit score to ensure that you didn’t miss anything. I like to use Credit Karma. It is free (legit free, not sign-up for 30 days free and then you will get slammed with recurring monthly payments). It’s a good habit to check your credit score regularly, even after your divorce passes. You never know what you may find.
Last, use your credit cards wisely, before, during, and after a divorce. Does divorce hurt your credit? It certainly can, especially if you are irresponsible with your credit cards. It’s difficult to learn good financial habits, but it can be even more difficult to maintain them. Get into the habit of keeping low balances on your credit cards and paying them in full each month if possible.
One Last Thing
A low credit score is not the end of the world. But, a good credit score can make your life so much easier. So, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t where you want to be. Be patient, and you WILL get there. It won’t happen overnight, but rather with small and consistent changes. Don’t let your divorce negatively affect your credit score.
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