For years during your marriage, you tied your finances to your spouse’s. You and your spouse made your spending decisions together, and the wellbeing of your credit scores was united.
If you are preparing to file for divorce, one of the major elements that will need to be resolved surrounds your credit. Specifically, you will need to begin to separate your credit from your spouse’s and begin building credit on your own.
Untying your credit from your spouse’s credit
When going through divorce proceedings, one of the first things you should do is close your joint accounts. You can do this before you finalize the divorce.
Closing the account prevents a spouse from increasing any consumer debt you may have on the card. Remember, in New Jersey, courts will likely divide the debts that a couple incurs during the course of their marriage divided between both spouses.
Not all spouses have joint accounts. Some of personal accounts and have added their spouse as an authorized user. The best thing to do if you are in this situation is to remove your spouse as an authorized user by contacting your credit card company.
Start strengthening your future credit
Once you have extracted your credit from your spouse’s credit, it is time to begin thinking about building your credit as you transition into single life. If you have not been doing so, strive to adopt good credit behaviors, including:
- Paying off all of your bills on time
- Use no more than 25-30 percent of your available credit each month
- Request your free credit report from the three credit reporting agencies every year
Preparing for and navigating through divorce proceedings is an important transitional period in your life. Taking care to implement prudent financial strategies can help leave you in a better position for the next stage of your life.