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How to protect your credit score while going through a divorce

An individual's financial security is dependent upon many things including one's ability to access and obtain credit. In cases where an individual is planning to file for or is going through a divorce, it's important to take steps to protect or boost an existing credit score. To accomplish this goal, an individual must be aware of the ways that divorce can negatively impact a credit score.

When an individual informs a spouse that he or she wants a divorce, emotions are likely to run high and both spouses may be prone to act out in ways that are out of character. If soon-to-be exes still share joint accounts, it's important to ensure that bills are being paid in full and on time. From credit cards to a home mortgage, if payments are late or missed, an individual's credit score is likely to take a big hit. In cases where an estranged husband or wife doesn't seem to care about making these payments, it's in an individual's best interest to do so in full and to keep track of and attempt to recover these funds during divorce proceedings.

An individual's credit score may also take a hit if he or she doesn't have ready access to cash during a divorce. For example, if a vindictive spouse decides to freeze joint assets, an individual may be forced to rely heavily upon credit cards until a divorce settlement is finalized. If credit card balances grow to 30 percent or higher or an individual has trouble paying monthly credit card bills, a credit score may be negatively impacted.

When possible, it’s best to be proactive and take steps to secure liquid assets and close all joint accounts prior to filing for divorce. A divorce attorney can assess an individual’s specific situation and provide advice on how to protect one’s credit score while working towards securing a favorable divorce settlement.

Source: Nerd Wallet, "3 Ways Divorce Can Hurt Your Credit Score," Erin El Issa, May 5, 2014

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