Marital status is not included in the credit report but why do many people suffer credit damage post-divorce? The short answer is because divorce could very much indirectly lead to financial troubles that do hurt your credit.
A loss of one income can lead to missed payments. Your credit score can definitely drop if you do not pay attention to joint accounts you share with your ex. It could also be that the judge will declare one person responsible for joint debt. If payments are not made, both your credit reports will take hit. In some cases, one spouse will intentionally miss payments to hurt the other’s score out of spite.
How to protect your credit
So what can you do post-divorce to keep your credit score intact? Below are some helpful tips:
1. Adjust your lifestyle to one income. Now is a good time to downsize to match your income. For some people, this involves major life changes such as selling the old house and moving to a smaller one, refinancing loans, selling vehicles and switching to a less expensive car. It is better to be realistic than accumulate debt though.
2. Create a budget or modify your existing one. Figure out what you can and cannot afford. Prioritize your essentials and make sure you are current with your payments.
3. Deal with joint debts like adults. Review your credit report and make a list of all accounts that are jointly held. You can close these accounts and inform your creditors of your divorce.
4. Remove your spouse as an authorized user from your credit cards. This is an important step that you must not forget. Some vindictive ex-spouses will run up a balance to take revenge on you.
5. Do not trust your ex to pay on accounts with your name on them. Even if they are still living on the house or driving the car taken from your loan, do not trust them to stay current on these payments. Often, people are not as responsible with financial accounts that do not directly impact them.