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Protecting Your Credit After a Divorce

Since your credit score affects everything from your ability to get a car loan or rent an apartment to your ability to pass a pre-employment background check, it's smart to be concerned about how a divorce will affect your numbers.

The biggest mistake people make when managing their credit after a Pasadena divorce is assuming that credit card companies must honor the terms of the divorce decree. It does not matter who is assigned the debt in your divorce; if it’s a joint account, the creditor has the right to go after both of you in an attempt to collect payment. Late payments made to joint accounts will also continue to be added as negative marks on your own credit report. For this reason, it’s always best to close or refinance shared accounts -- even if you must sell assets to do so.

If you have no way of closing or refinancing an account, make sure that you both have online access to invoices and payment details. This way, you’ll be able to protect yourself by staying on top of whether or not your ex is continuing to make all of the agreed upon payments.

To start building credit in your own name, consider opening up a new charge account. Charge only a few small purchases each month, such as your Netflix subscription and gym membership, then pay them off in full. Having a record of responsible credit use in your name will only help with the process of rebuilding your post-divorce credit score.

Finally, remember to take all necessary precautions to protect your identity. If you were married for more than a few short months, your former spouse likely already knows your Social Security number, birth date, mother’s maiden name, the name of the street you grew up on, and a host of other details that would make it easy to steal your identity and run up new debt in your name. Studies have shown that up to 50% of people who are victims of identity theft have a close friend or relative as the perpetrator. As a safety precaution, change the passwords and security questions on all of your online bank accounts and sign up for a credit report monitoring program that will alert you automatically to signs of suspicious activity.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena divorce lawyers are eager to advocate for your needs throughout the settlement process.

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