Some spouses seem determined to wreak havoc on their exes’ lives before, during and after a divorce. Financial attacks are common — which makes it especially important to safeguard your credit.
Here’s how to do it:
Put a freeze on your credit report
One of the smartest things you can do is put a freeze on your credit reports. This will stop the credit monitoring agencies from giving anyone a report without your express consent. It will also prevent the issuance of new credit in your name until the freeze is over.
The three major credit reporting agencies include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You’ll have to contact all three agencies directly, but the process is easy and they’ll each walk you through it.
Update all your personal information
You need to keep your spouse or ex-spouse from prying into your finances. One of the best ways to do that is to update all of your passwords online. The odds are good that your spouse knows the old ones. It’s also wise to open a new email address and make sure that all of your accounts have it listed — just in case your ex is tempted to snoop even further.
Open your own checking account
Don’t make the mistake of continuing to use the joint checking. As soon as you know that a divorce is looming, it’s time to get your own account. Make certain that any automatic bills you have paid are tied to that account — not the joint one. That way, you know you’ll stay in control of your good name.
Pay off and close any joint credit cards
This can be difficult to do, but whenever possible you want to pay off and close your joint credit cards. You have the right to cancel the card if your name is on it — even if your spouse is the only one using a certain card. It’s important not to leave any of those out there because the credit card company doesn’t draw a legal distinction between what’s “your” debt and what isn’t — no matter what your divorce papers say.
How much should you worry about all this? Only you can assess your risk for certain, but remember that people sometimes do uncharacteristic things when they’re angry. During a divorce, it’s always smarter to be proactive about your financial future.
Source: nerdwallet, “4 Ways to Protect Your Credit During and After a Divorce,” Anisha Sekar, accessed April 20, 2018