Can a divorce have a negative impact on your credit scores?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2023 | Divorce

One aspect of divorce that often gets overlooked is its potential impact on credit scores. As couples untangle their lives, financial ties get severed or restructured, and this process can have lasting consequences for individual creditworthiness.

In a CNBC news report, 42% of men and 54% of women revealed that they experienced a decline in their credit scores following divorce. While the end of a marriage does not automatically mean your scores will drop, it is important to understand the effect that it could have on your finances.

Division of debts

When a marriage ends, any outstanding debts, such as mortgages, car loans or credit card balances, get divided between the former partners. However, simply agreeing to split the debts is not enough. Lenders still view both parties as responsible for joint debts until they are officially separated. If an ex-spouse fails to uphold their end of the financial arrangement, it can negatively affect the other’s credit score.

Credit utilization changes

Divorce often leads to changes in income and living arrangements, causing individuals to rely more heavily on credit. Increased credit utilization, especially if it approaches or exceeds recommended limits, can negatively impact credit scores. Financial adjustments, such as establishing new lines of credit or closing joint accounts, can further contribute to fluctuations in credit utilization ratios.

Missed payments

The emotional toll of divorce can sometimes result in overlooked financial responsibilities. While adapting to a new lifestyle, individuals may miss payments on loans or credit cards, leading to late fees and negative credit ratings. Timely payments are necessary for maintaining a positive credit history and to avoid any lapses that could be harmful to your score.

By understanding the credit implications of a divorce, individuals can navigate the process more effectively and safeguard their financial well-being.

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