Many people in Texas who have been through a divorce have found that the process has knocked their credit score down by at least 50 points. However, it does not have to be this way. While there may be an unavoidable impact on credit, some of the damage can be avoided by being proactive and vigilant.
The way to most effectively protect credit is by becoming informed. One should pull all of their credit reports from the bureaus to gain an understanding of the potential pitfalls. These are ordinarily the joint accounts that they share with a spouse. They are a danger because the other spouse can run up debts that both spouses must pay. One should consider separating accounts as soon as possible. This may be subject to some negotiation, but it can help preserve credit scores.
One should also begin conversations with the lenders to ensure that they are informed of the situation. While it may not get them off the hook for the debt, it can lead to some forbearance or leeway to address the situation before it hurts credit. If there is a real risk to one’s creditworthiness, one should consider placing a freeze on their credit. This will keep someone from being able to take out credit in their name that can ruin their credit score. The sooner one acts, the less of a chance that their credit is hit.
A divorce attorney may be helpful when the couple has debt and one is concerned about how it will be apportioned in the divorce. They may be able to negotiate a settlement that protects their client from being overly burdened with debt. Alternatively, the attorney could help their client achieve a distribution of marital assets that reflects the amount of debt that they are obligated to assume.