If you are facing a divorce, you may also be facing financial difficulty. If you are moving to a new residence, need to buy furniture or items for your home, or are facing alimony or child support payments, you may find yourself in a very different financial situation than you were used to throughout your marriage. You should make sure that you take care of your credit after a divorce, especially if you are considering purchasing a home or a new car in the near future.

Bankruptcy or Divorce First?

Many people who are struggling with their finances actually consider filing for bankruptcy. They often ask if they should file for divorce or bankruptcy first. Personal bankruptcy will affect your credit score. However, oftentimes, it is a necessity for some people to get a fresh financial start. It’s important to note that you will never need your spouse’s permission to file for bankruptcy either before or after your divorce.

While you may choose to file for bankruptcy at any time, know that you will be unable to dispose of any marital assets during a bankruptcy proceeding and an “automatic stay” will be placed on your finances. Therefore, the bankruptcy will have to be completed first, before the divorce can proceed. Additionally, if you choose to file for bankruptcy after a divorce, you should understand that bankruptcy will never discharge your obligations regarding alimony or child support payments. These types of debts are considered priorities under Section 523(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code, and therefore, you will be unable to relieve yourself from the responsibility to pay these debts.

Repairing Credit After a Divorce

If you find yourself struggling financially after a divorce, there are certain steps you can take to rebuild your credit and your financial health.

  • Make sure to always live on a budget. You can find several free budget templates online to help you determine how much disposable income you have, and how to save for your future.
  • Check your credit score frequently. You can look at all three credit scores one a year for free, however, there are ways you can pay to monitor your credit score year-round.
  • Make sure that all joint debts with your ex-spouse are addressed. If you have any joint debts that you both co-signed on during your marriage, you may still have a responsibility to pay for them. Make sure that you stay current with these payments so that your credit score is not damaged.
  • Change your last name prior to obtaining new credit. If you are going to take out a loan or another credit card, make sure to change your name first. While a name change will not affect your credit score, this will help you as you move forward.
  • Obtain credit slowly. While you may feel that it is necessary to get credit cards to pay for your bills, only make purchases that you know you can afford.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you are facing a divorce and are concerned about your financial situation, contact an experienced attorney today at the Law Office of Michelanne Hrubic at 951-256-4705 to discuss your options and next best steps.