As you consider divorce, it is important to also consider that separating from your spouse won’t automatically terminate your financial relationship, particularly when it comes to credit. Going through a divorce does not have to negatively impact your credit score if all financial matters are handled promptly and properly.
In the case where both parties are listed on an account, credit companies do not make provisions for dividing the debt because you have filed for divorce. A creditor’s primary concern is repayment of the debt and both parties will be held responsible for balances due, regardless of who made a purchase or otherwise created the debt.
If payments are not made on joint accounts (e.g., credit cards, car notes, mortgages, etc.), then both parties are held responsible and the resulting damage to your credit will likely remain long after your divorce is final.
Here are some considerations for managing your credit accounts, and credit score, during a divorce:
- If you can come to an agreement with your spouse for assigning credit accounts, then as soon as possible change joint accounts to individual accounts.
- Do what you can to settle outstanding balances with creditors. Call them to see what options are available and be sure to ask for a written confirmation.
- If you are unable to settle an account and you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse, then freeze the account so that it cannot be used to incur further debt.
After doing what you reasonably can on your own, then it is time to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Mediation may be an option to assist with settling credit obligations and determining who will be responsible for paying each debt.
Keep in mind, however, that during the divorce process payments must still be made to creditors. Even if an account is frozen to prevent additional spending, payments are still required on the outstanding balance. Avoiding or missing payments can lead to accumulating late fees and penalties, further damaging your credit score.
To help manage your joint credit accounts and financial responsibilities during divorce, contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz, Offit Kurman, P.A., (301) 575-0381.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 32 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
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