It’s no secret that a lot of marriages end in divorce. According to the latest reports, approximately half of all first marriages end in divorce. Roughly 2/3 of all second marriages end in divorce, and nearly 75% of third marriages in the U.S. are dissolved. Divorces often have negative financial implications for both partners, including negative changes to credit scores. But there are things you can do to protect and manage your credit during a divorce. Read on for smart ways to protect and manage your credit while navigating a divorce.
How Can a Divorce Impact My Credit Score?
Divorce in and of itself will not have an impact on your credit score. However, because of linked accounts, joint property, and joint debts, if you’re not careful, your credit can take a hit as a result of the divorce.
Late payments to credit cards, personal loans, and mortgage payments will cause your credit score to dip if your name is on the account. Consider, for example, that you and your ex-spouse have a joint credit card. Should your spouse begin using the card, driving up the balance, your credit score will be affected, as your available credit will decrease.
Likewise, consider that you’re both on a car loan. Your ex keeps the car but stops paying the payment on time or at all. Even though you’d both agreed that they should keep the car, and they agreed to make the payment, your credit will be affected. Although it may make you angry to make payments that your ex was supposed to make, if can make the payment, it will help safeguard your credit score.
Five Ways to Manage Your Credit While Going Through a Divorce in Oregon
Oregon is not a community property state. It is an equitable distribution state. In general terms, this means that the distribution of assets is based on who earned or acquired them. To that end, divorces can drag on as parties attempt to determine an equitable distribution of assets.
As you navigate the process of dividing assets and property, there are five things you should do to manage your credit.
- Check Your Credit Report
Every person in the U.S. is entitled to a free credit report each year. Your credit report is available at www.annualCreditReport.com or by calling 877-322-8228. Once you have your report, create a file noting your balances and any joint accounts you hold.
- Check Your Authorized Users on Credit Cards
You should contact your credit cards and inquire about authorized users on any of your individual credit cards. If your ex-spouse is an authorized user, you may wish to remove them so they cannot charge to accounts in your name.
- Stop New Charges on Joint Credit Cards
Suppose you have joint credit cards with your spouse. In that case, it may be prudent to stop all new charges on the account, to prevent balances from increasing while you divide your property and assets.
- Pay Off Joint Credit Cards with Existing Marital Assets
Joint credit card accounts should be paid off as soon as possible using current marital assets. Then, to safely manage your credit, close the joint accounts. If you cannot pay off a joint credit card, consider converting the joint account to an individual account, or transferring balances to existing individual accounts, then closing joint accounts.
- Closely Monitor Your Credit During the Divorce
It is smart to monitor your credit regularly while navigating your divorce. Many credit card companies offer free monitoring. Likewise, you may check your credit for free at Experian.com or through apps such as Credit Karma.
Get Help Managing Your Mortgage During a Divorce
If you own a home with your spouse and you’re going through a divorce, Strategic Mortgage Solutions is here to help you understand all options you have for keeping the home, including refinancing. To learn more or for a free mortgage consultation, call 541-275-1148 or send us a message.