Your credit can be hurt if your ex doesn't pay off debt

Think that your credit is safe from any negative impacts your ex may have on it after divorce? While splitting up can help prevent some financial issues, that doesn't mean your ex can't hurt your credit score.

For example, perhaps you and your spouse had three credit cards, all with outstanding balances. When dividing assets and debt, your spouse said he or she would pay those off. It's in your divorce agreement.

If your spouse does it, the debt goes away and you can both start fresh with individuals cards, rather than joint accounts.

However, if your spouse never pays off what is owed, creditors very well may call you and ask for the money. You can tell them about the divorce and the agreement you both have in place, but they don't necessarily care. Your name was on the account, you technically owed the money along with your spouse, and that is still true. They can still come after you for the late payments if your spouse does not hold up his or her end of the deal.

If you refuse to pay, thinking that it's not fair, you could then see a hit to your credit score. That outstanding debt and those missed payments will eventually find their way to your credit report. You can explain the situation to other lenders in the future, but they may just look at your low credit score and refuse to give you the loan that you want.

As you can see, divorce can be complicated and the impact can linger for months or years. Make sure you know your rights and legal options.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce," accessed March 16, 2017

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