There are plenty of horrifying stories and research studies about the toll that divorce can take on your finances and your credit. There’s no doubt that getting divorced comes with its own set of unique challenges, but these can be made much easier when you’ve hired the right Florida family law attorney to help you.
It is a myth to think that you will have a damaged credit score simply because you filed for divorce or signed divorce papers.
The simple act of getting divorce does not have a direct influence on your credit. However, getting divorce can impact your credit depending on the financial situation you and your spouse had prior to getting divorced.
The more shared debt there is between you and your partner, the greater the potential is that there’d be problems if the relationship ultimately ends in a divorce.
Although the legal act of getting a divorce doesn’t trigger an immediate impact on your credit, what follows could cause your credit score to take a dip, depending on how you deal with the shared finances.
Why the Wording of Your Divorce Decree Matters
Hiring the right divorce lawyer at the outset can have a significant impact on your life financially after your divorce. You need to have an attorney advocating for your rights both with your children and financially.
Financial responsibility should be addressed in your divorce decree, particularly if you and your spouse have debt and accounts where both of your names are listed.
For example, the court might determine that one party is responsible for the payment of the debt but this doesn’t always resolve all of the issues that could lead to collateral damage on the other person’s credit report.
As another example, imagine that your spouse was named as responsible for paying off a particular credit card but he or she never took the responsibility to do this.
The divorce decree on its own doesn’t alter the credit card agreement or the original loan agreement. So, missed payments or defaults will impact both individuals. This situation can also be escalated beyond credit card debt.
If one spouse is ordered to pay child support and fails to do so, a court judgement could be entered listing the amount that is owed and these obligations could even be reported on your credit report.
Bear in mind that a joint credit card agreement recognizes one thing – an equal responsibility between two people to repay an entire balance.
What About Credit Card Companies?
Immediately after you file for divorce, you need to protect yourself by closing any joint accounts, including credit cards. You should not trust that your former spouse will respect these accounts.
In fact, you could even be on the line for charges run up on these accounts even if you’ve already filed for divorce.
A contract that you and your spouse previously signed with a credit card company, for example, doesn’t break down how much each person is responsible for repaying after the divorce.
The credit card company is well within its rights to pursue both people who signed the initial agreement if one starts defaulting.
These matters can be extremely complex and can certainly have an impact on your financial future. One of the most important things you can do is to cancel any joint credit cards and close any joint accounts as soon as possible after you file for divorce.
This prevents one spouse from running up significant amounts of debt on one account and then leaving you responsible for it even if that is just an impact on your credit report.
Meet with a Knowledgeable Florida Divorce Attorney
Make sure you start off the Florida divorce process by coming to your attorney with a list of all assets and liabilities.
This can prove especially important for the division of assets and debt in court and you want to know what you’re working with to the best extent possible, cooperating with your spouse and making sure that all of these accounts have been properly closed and that no more charges are made, is essential.
This could be critical to protecting your financial future, so do not hesitate to find the right Florida divorce attorney to help you.