Before you even think about divorce as an option for ending an unhappy and dysfunctional marriage, one of the biggest argument points that may exist in your relationship relates to money. Many times, spouses can find themselves at odds over the way the other spends their shared financial assets, and this can significantly impact your credit, should you not have the funds to cover the amount being spent.
If you think the spending and the marriage itself has gotten out of control and is unsustainable, then it is vital to take action. Contact your family law attorney, and begin the divorce process. It is important to take action, especially if you are a man or a father, due to the outdated gender stereotypes that pervade the family court system.
When it comes to the impact of your credit and your finances from a soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is necessary to stay proactive, in order to protect your future. One of the first steps you should take is running your credit history.
According to Cordell & Cordell Pennsylvania family law attorney Maura C. Boogay, once you receive your credit report, review the credit card accounts and see if there are any cards that you were unaware of that are tied to your name.
Knowledge is power, and if you are unaware of any credit cards or accounts tied to your name, you may find yourself facing the consequences of your own ignorance. When a card or account is tied to your identity and you are going through a divorce, your ex-spouse may have the same incentive to pay the hidden cards or accounts.
They may want to get you into trouble by not paying. They may not care about their credit as much as you, or may be unaware of the severity of letting these debts remain unpaid.
These types of joint bills could mean that if you do not cover the payments that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is not or is refusing to cover, you can find yourself being held responsible. This can be incredibly risky, especially if you find yourself in a financially perilous post-divorce situation.
Even after the divorce is finalized, you still need to be vigilant and check your credit regularly to ensure that no accounts are being opened in your name without your consent, according to family law attorney Denise Michalske.
Joint accounts and debt
If you are on civil terms with your ex-spouse, you can work together to get any and all joint cards and accounts frozen, so that no further debt can be incurred jointly.
You also need to be aware of debts that you have accrued. Your soon-to-be ex-spouse may attempt to use your debt as leverage in divorce negotiations. In addition to paying off those debts as soon as possible, so that they cannot be used against you in court, you may need to employ a financial advisor, who can assist you in planning your financial future after the divorce is finalized.
After your divorce is finalized, it can be beneficial for you to take a look at your income and expenses to determine what changes are necessary, in order to maintain or rebuild your credit. This is accounting for divorce-related obligations, such as child support or alimony, according to Cordell & Cordell Pennsylvania family law attorney Jamie Spero.
Issues of authorization, sales
You also need to worry about authorized users. When you are married, you give your spouse access to your accounts and cards, but after the divorce process has begun, it is imperative that your ex-spouse be taken off of any list of authorized users. This prevents them from utilizing your accounts and cards for their own means.
Authorization is an important component, especially as it pertains to the marital residence itself. If you are attempting to sell the marital residence while your ex-spouse still is living in the house, they are somewhat in control of the showings and openings.
During this time, you will need to continue to pay the mortgage and participate in the sales process as fully as possible, in order to ensure the sale.
Credit can take time to rebuild, which is why it is so important to make sure that you are taking steps to prevent the actions of a soon-to-be ex-spouse from affecting your financial well-being moving forward.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with Joe Cordell.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.