How to Rebuild Your Credit After a Divorce
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: March 18, 2015
If you're newly divorced, you may now be in the process of adjusting if your previous transactions were under your married name or even under your husband's name. You may have been the one paying for half or majority of the expenses, but your credit card accounts were under your married name.
Not all marriages are meant to last. Unpleasant as it is, divorce is oftentimes the only other option left for some couples. Your situation may be difficult but you will have to work on a number of things. The worse situation is if you incurred huge debts as a couple. Though uncoupled now, it is impossible to simply go back to your life as a single person before you got married. Things will never be the same, and that includes your credit history among other things.
What to do after Divorce is Final
Review Your Credit Report.
As early as possible in the divorce process, you should pull the most recent copy of your credit report from the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Or you can visit the national website www.annualcreditreport.com. Make sure that everything is accurate and be certain that you understand your own individual credit and accounts and those of your spouse.
You will need help in re-establishing your credit after you're divorced. This will facilitate your comeback in the financial market and enable you to secure loans and other credit accommodations based on your own person. You will need a very good credit if you want to have leverage when negotiating for lower interest.
Create a Budget.
The divorce may change both the income and expense sides of your personal budget. Make sure you allocate enough for court-mandated child support or spousal support. And remember to be very conservative in your budgeting. You should be able to have money left at the end of the month rather than month left at the end of your money.
Seek Professional Tax and Financial Planning Advice.
Divorces are complex and often have unanticipated financial consequences. Finance professionals will help you navigate these uncharted waters and help you maximize your financial benefits and minimize your tax and other obligations.
Change Back to Your Maiden Name.
Dropping your husband's name and using your old name will not erase your credit history, as credit histories are tied to your social security number. However, you must establish new credit in your own name, especially if all of your previous credit was joint credit with your husband. You can easily accomplish this if you have good credit.
Tips on Rebuilding Your Credit
- Be sure to cancel all joint credit card accounts from your marriage. Doing so will safeguard your credit record in case your ex-husband decides to use them. Despite a cancellation, however, the debts in both of your names will remain a liability to you until they're paid off.
- All credit accounts you had while using your husband's surname should be changed to the name you are using now.
- Open a bank account in your name to start a personal relationship with the bank of your choice.
- The sooner you establish accounts in your name, the closer you will be in rebuilding your credit. Apply for a new credit card in your maiden name if you've changed back. In the event that you're not immediately given a credit card, you can get a store-issued retail card just to get your new credit history started.
For more tips on rebuilding your credit, read all of our rebuilding credit articles.