How divorce can affect credit scores

When California spouses get divorced, they may suffer damage to their credit scores. While divorce itself has no effect at all on credit scores, many of the things that happen as part of a separation might.

One of the main problems is that while a divorce decree may divide debts, creditors only care about whose name the debt is in. If both exes are supposed to pay down a debt and one does not do so, this will hurt the credit of the other person as well. A soon-to-be ex-spouse could also make purchases on a joint account and drive up the debt and then refuse to pay any of it.

Harm to credit scores often happens disproportionately to women. One reason for this is that women tend to have lower incomes than men. They are also more likely to suffer financially after a divorce. However, there are steps exes can take to try to keep their credit scores up after a divorce. For starters, one should remove their ex as an authorized user on all accounts. It’s also wise to close any joint accounts and retitle assets as necessary. If there is a home, it might be necessary to refinance in order to remove a spouse from the mortgage. They may also want to order copies of their credit reports and monitor them.

In a community property state like California, marital assets are to be split equally. This means that even if one spouse does not work outside the home, that spouse is still entitled to half of all marital property. A nonworking or lower-earning spouse may also be entitled to spousal support; although, this is usually temporary. A soon-to-be ex may want to work with an attorney to discuss options for dividing property and what arrangements might be appropriate.