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3 ways to protect your credit score in divorce

There are a lot of issues to think about when you and your spouse break up. One core topic on your mind should be your credit score. Shared credit is a breeding ground for financial woes when splitting up with your spouse. 

Your spouse may ruin your credit score, either out of malice or emotional spending. Take the following steps to safeguard your credit standing during and after the divorce process.

1. Shut down joint accounts

If you leave a shared account open, both of you have equal responsibility for any debt on it. Your ex may make late payments, miss payments, default or accrue more debt and leave you on the hook for it. Protect your credit score by closing any joint accounts you have with your spouse.

2. Monitor your credit report

It is a good idea to regularly check your credit report so you can identify any problems or errors that show up due to your marital joint credit. This is also a great way to protect yourself if you are afraid of your spouse opening new accounts after the divorce or stealing your identity. Your spouse likely has access to your personal data, so this may be a real concern. 

3. Create a sensible budget

When you leave your spouse, you potentially go from enjoying a dual-income lifestyle to a single-income household. If you are the higher-earning spouse, you may have to pay spousal support temporarily or permanently. Child support is another likely payment depending on your custody arrangement. Add in the legal fees and you will need to reassess your spending and saving habits during the divorce. Depending on your situation, you may need to cut out certain luxuries for a while, such as a premium phone or cable plan. 

Divorce can have a serious impact on your credit score, but you can minimize the damage by taking these actions.

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