Tips to Protect Your Credit During Divorce on Long Island
Unfortunately for some, your Long Island Divorce can bring out the worst in your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Whether you begin your divorce amicable or contested, we always advise our clients to protect their credit before, during and after their divorce. We have been witness to many horror stories in which an upset spouse wracks up debt in the other spouse’s name.
During many Long Island divorces, debt is often a hot-button issue. The top 3 debts during a divorce are usually a mortgage on the marital residence, automobile financing, and credit card debt. Other less common debts may be a second mortgage, a home equity line of credit, and child support arrears.
Part of your Stipulation of Settlement, or Judgment of Divorce, will deal with the pre-existing marital debt. In some cases, one spouse will settle all debt in exchange for something else during the divorce, such as satisfaction of a claim to spousal support or their share of the marital residence. Other spouses split the debt down the middle, while still others divide it based on who accrued the debt. There are many creative ways with which pre-existing marital debt can be handled.
How to Protect Your Credit During Divorce
In most cases, I advise my clients to close all joint accounts. If you have an amicable relationship with your spouse, it’s best to talk to him or her and discuss the best options for you. Closing the joint accounts is one of the quickest ways to avoid any issues with your credit down the line. However, it’s important to talk to your spouse if practicable in order to avoid any unnecessary confrontation. You should then establish your own individual accounts in your name only. This includes establishing your own individual credit cards as well.
Upon retaining our divorce and family law firm for your Long Island Divorce, we highly recommend that you obtain a current credit report. This lists all of the past and present debt that is attached to your name and social security number. The credit report allows you to get a full picture of where you (and your spouse regarding any joint debt) stand. It will list your mortgage(s), car loan(s), and consumer debt, if any. It’s also a great way to ensure that your spouse has not incurred debt in your name of which you are unaware. If your spouse has incurred debt in your name that was not authorized by you, it is better to learn of it sooner, before your divorce is finalized, than afterwards.
How to Protect Your Credit Post-Divorce
One of the most important ways to protect your credit post-divorce is to create, and live according to, a budget. A divorce will likely leave you with a new set of circumstances to which that you must adjust. You may have new obligations, such as spousal support, a new mortgage or rent, or different payments to settle a debt. You may also have new sources of income, such as equitable distribution settlement. Either way, it is very important for you to take stock of what you have and the expenses you incur on a daily basis, and to be very realistic when determining your budget. Living within your means is crucial to ensuring a successful financial situation post-divorce.
Have Questions About How To Protect Your Credit During Your Divorce? We Can Help
If you have any questions about protecting your credit during your divorce on Long Island, we can help. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
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