You've probably heard horror stories from people about how their credit was ruined by their divorce. You might have heard things like, "My wife maxed out all of our credit cards," or "My husband squandered away everything we had on his gambling addiction."
There is probably a lot of truth to these stories and we can attest that we have witnessed similar versions first-hand. Some of the worst examples were bitter spouses who intentionally destroyed their spouse's credit out of spite; oh what a perilous course that was.
In the end, everybody gets hurt. Think about it, when a jealous or bitter spouse intentionally destroys their spouse's credit, it has a domino effect.
For example, credit sabotage can affect an ex-spouse's ability to buy a new automobile (one that's good for the children), their ability to rent or buy a new home in a good school district, and their ability to obtain a credit card to use in case of an emergency.
Even if there aren't any children from the marriage who are directly or indirectly affected, credit sabotage still affects the bitter spouse. Why?
Because, under New York's laws of equitable distribution, both spouses are on the hook for any debt incurred during the course of the marriage, so when a bitter spouse intentionally damages their husband or wife's credit, they're destroying their own in the process.
Protect Your Credit During & After Divorce
Divorce has a way of making sane people do some insane things; divorcing spouses aren't always thinking with a clear head, but you already know that.
Whether or not you are concerned that your spouse may damage your credit, you must be vigilant about your credit before, during and after the divorce.
Our Nassau County divorce lawyer explains how to do it:
- If possible, pay off and close all joint credit cards with your spouse. Or, remove your spouse's name from the account. The goal is to make a clean break.
- If you own a home together, consider selling the house and splitting the proceeds. Want to keep the home? See our blog about "Divorce: Can You Afford the House?"
- If your spouse keeps the marital home, be sure that he or she refinances the mortgage in their name alone. You don't want to be financially tied to your ex or the property as this can lead to major headaches.
- Before and after the divorce, run your credit report to see exactly which accounts you have and whose name is on them. If possible, have your spouse run theirs too.
- Strive for a collaborative divorce, it's a lot less expensive than a contested divorce. Remember, the goal is to preserve as much of the marital estate as possible. You don't want to have to turn to credit cards to pay your litigation fees if you don't have to.
If you have further questions about how to protect your credit during and after a divorce, contact our office to schedule a consultation with our Nassau County divorce attorney. We're here to help.