Protecting Your Credit in a Divorce

It's obvious that divorce is a difficult situation to deal with. You have to work through the emotional fallout of losing your partner, dealing with custody agreements when there are kids involved, and trying to protect your finances. When you're so caught up on the emotional side of things, sometimes the financial issues go unchecked and you forget all about protecting yourself for the long term. The short term implication of setting up a separate home, paying child support, and other issues are more immediately pressing, but you also need to keep in mind that there are credit implications of divorce that are far reaching as well. Financial misconduct in divorce in Florida isn't an issue that anyone wants to deal with, so it's best to proactively protect your credit.

Credit Effects

While getting married didn't directly affect your credit, it did entangle you with your spouse over time. All of your joint credit accounts, whether they are credit cards or home mortgages, are in both of your names. Regardless of who ends up owning the asset, if you don't do anything to protect your credit, you are held responsible if your former spouse does not keep up on payments. It's essential to make sure that each party in the divorce knows exactly what they are responsible for when it comes to credit accounts. You may want to split everything equally, or separate out the accounts that existed before your marriage. If possible, it may be better to close down credit cards that you aren't using and apply for new cards later, instead of working through the mess and trusting that your former spouse will be removed from the card. 


Part of the negotiation process in the divorce decree is stating who is responsible for what when it comes to asset payments. Don't skip this step, as you will need the paperwork indicating that you aren't responsible for a debt in case your former spouse stops paying on the loan. It may take some time, but when you aren't legally responsible for the debt, having documented proof of this helps you to get it off of your credit report. If you don't trust your former spouse to make payments, and you don't want to put your trust in the divorce decree to fix things after the fact, try to get a refinance required for certain assets. When your former spouse refinances, say, a car, your name is removed from the loan and it is only their responsibility. This helps to take some of the pressure and worry off of you. 

The long term impact of bad credit cannot be underestimated. Credit is not used only for loans. Employers, apartment complexes, and even insurance companies look at your credit report to judge the worthiness of your applications. Also consider that bad credit may affect your relationships post-divorce. So, making sure that your credit is protected is important for reasons other than applying for credit cards, a home mortgage, or a car loan down the road. It impacts every area of your life. You also don't want to have bill collectors demanding that you pay if your former spouse runs up the cards and leaves the payments to you.

When you share many assets and your financial life is entwined, it's important to get professional help to sort through the issues. Financial misconduct in divorce in Florida requires a professional strategy experienced divorce attorneys. Kenny Leigh and Associates are men-only divorce attorneys with offices in Jacksonville, Daytona, Boca Raton, Fort Walton, Fleming Island, and Gainesville, FL. Contact us today to discuss your separation, divorce, or child custody needs.

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