At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles divorce attorneys know that once our clients decide to go their separate ways from their spouses, everything changes. Unfortunately, a significant part of that change impacts their finances.
Without a clear plan in place, it is easy to lose track of who is paying for what, and how the marital accounts are being used. Before you know it, a medical bill slips through the cracks. A credit card statement goes unpaid. And your credit score takes a hit.
Here are a few ways to keep your credit on the right track from the beginning stages of a California divorce.
How to Protect Your Credit Score During a California Divorce
Once the decision to separate is made — whether it was your choice or your spouse’s — it is important to begin negotiating the details of your property distribution right away, even if that means initiating the closure of shared accounts.
This will help keep one spouse from racking up debt on shared credit cards or overspending from a shared bank account, or in some cases, depleting it. This important step will also protect your credit score, which is something most newly divorced people count on to find a new place to live, purchase new possessions, and start their new lives.
Begin the process by opening a free credit report account or downloading a trusted, free credit reporting app like Experian or Credit Karma. This will allow you to assess your true financial standing. If you do not currently monitor your credit report, you may be surprised by the amount of “shared” accounts you have. It is not uncommon for spouses to have credit cards or other accounts they did not know about, until a divorce highlights their existence.
Once you have a true picture of what accounts are in your name, and those you share, you can get to work on separating the expenses and closing those accounts. Be sure to talk to your divorce lawyer first, so you are not overstepping any legal boundaries when doing so.
The same goes for checking or savings accounts. Talk to your attorney, the bank, and your spouse about your account balances, and work towards removing yourself — or your spouse — from those accounts.
Keep in mind, this is not about cutting the other spouse off from any financial means. It is simply a way to protect your financial standing and your credit score.
What If Our Family Home is in My Name?
If your spouse is awarded the family home, be sure that he or she is required to refinance the mortgage in their name only as part of the divorce settlement.
If your divorce required you to sell your family home and split the profits, do so as quickly as possible, so there is no confusion about who should be making the mortgage, insurance, and tax payments. This will help ensure these important payments do not fall in arrears, which will impact your credit score significantly.
Talk to Our Experienced Divorce Attorney About Your Financial Concerns
There is a lot to consider when getting divorced, and most of the important issues can be proactively addressed by partnering with a family law attorney you can trust. We can help.
If you have questions about divorce, finances, and your future, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at the Land Legal Group today at (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique needs and to learn how we can help.