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Divorce and Your Credit

Moderator Emerita

Divorce and Your Credit

Recently, after three children and 29+ years of marriage, I was divorced. Smiley Happy

I insert the Smiley Happy because I knew nearly two decades ago that this marriage wasn't going to work, despite our best efforts, and so I've always been aware that one day I'd be on my own. In fact, that's why I started looking at my credit and getting involved in the forums back in 2007. Nearly a year ago, I asked for the divorce. We worked together on it, using a mediator, and so there has been a minimum of emotional and financial damage, both to us and to our adult kids.

Nevertheless, we are dealing with reductions in income and threats to our individual credit, because guess what? Even in the calmest divorce possible, the wallet takes a beating. Two housing payments, two utility bills, two phone bills, two internet bills, two health/ dental/ car insurance bills, two this, two that, two the other. Any shared credit and debt needs to be dealt with: you will need to close out and/or re-fi every joint account. Plus, there are expenses arising from the divorce itself: attorneys, mediators, court costs, filing fees. And sadly, there are often such things as family therapy expense, to help you and the kids work through this, increased commuting costs, and escalating liquor store bills. Smiley Tongue (not recommended, btw)

There are so many, many issues arising from divorce, and personal credit and finances are just one aspect. Luckily, these forums are meant to deal with only these specific topics, and not the gamut of post-divorce diets and when to start dating again. (hint, hint!) The forum moderators and admins decided that it might be useful to the myFICO community to have a forum/ board dedicated to the impact of divorce (or the break-up of a long-term relationship) on personal credit and finances.

So here we are! We're hoping that members will share what they've discovered along the way, but there's one thing that I'd like to note here on this initial post. Please forgive me the use of all caps here, but this is an incredibly important issue, and many, many people don't grasp the ramifications until it's too late:

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THE JUDGE OR DIVORCE DECREE SAYS ABOUT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT. If your name is on an account, the creditors can and will come after you, if your ex drops the ball. This includes CC's, mortgages, auto loans, you name it, and any problems will show up on your credit reports.

You absolutely must get yourself off of any account that lists you as being jointly responsible.
Anyway, here's your chance to start a thread, post your experiences, and ask some questions about divorce and credit. We only ask one thing:

Please confine yourself to just one rant about the ex/ attorney(s)/ judge(s)/ legal system in general. Smiley Happy

I've read some heartbreaking accounts here, and some outrageous ones, regarding the behavior of all of the above. But please don't turn this board into a can-you-top-this. Sure, give us some background in your first post, and then let's get to a discussion of the credit issues that have arisen with the parting of the ways.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
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