Protecting Your Credit Score During Divorce
While many people expect the divorce process to be at least somewhat costly, few realize that it can also affect their financial futures for years to come. Divorce can, for instance, end up negatively impacting a person’s credit report. Below are a few tips that can help divorcing couples protect their credit scores. For more information, consider reaching out to a dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer.
Obtain Your Credit Report
Once you have decided to file for divorce, you should also consider obtaining a copy of your credit report from a major reporting bureau. As long as you haven’t requested a copy within the last year, doing so shouldn’t hurt your credit score. Once you have obtained a copy of your report, be sure to go over the information, ensuring that it is correct. If there are joint debts that you don’t recognize, be sure to speak to your spouse about them as soon as possible.
Remove Authorized Users
It is not uncommon for spouses to have separate debts, but to still list their partners as authorized users. While this means that the account in question is not in the partner’s name, he or she will still have access to it. If your spouse is an authorized user on your credit card, you should think about removing them so they can’t add charges to your account. Similarly, if you are an authorized user on any of your spouse’s accounts, ask that your name be officially removed, as this can reduce the likelihood that you will be liable for the account holder’s debts.
Create Separate Bank Accounts
If you and your spouse have a joint account, it’s a good idea to start the process of creating separate accounts now. This is true not only for bank accounts, but also for joint debt accounts. In the latter case, you should speak with your lender about as soon as possible.
Think About Freezing Your Credit
A spouse that knows his or her partner’s Social Security Number (SSN) can technically (albeit illegally) take out credit in that person’s name. To prevent this, a person can choose to freeze his or her credit, which will protect the credit score, while also blocking access to the account.
Change Your Passwords
Another good way to protect your credit after divorce is to ensure that your former partner can’t access your financial information. You can achieve this by changing the PINs on your debit cards, as well as the passwords on the website where you do your banking. Former couples are also encouraged to change the answers to their security questions, choosing ones that can’t easily be guessed. If you’ve moved out of a shared residence, make sure to update your address with your creditors and banks, which can add an extra layer of security.
We Can Help with Your Divorce
If you are going through a divorce, dedicated Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. can advise you on every aspect of your case, including how to protect your financial future. Call us at 954-945-7591 or send us an online message to set up a free consultation today.