Protecting your credit rating when separating or divorcing

You’ll already have a lot on your mind and protecting your credit rating is probably well down the list of things you’ll be worrying about. But it’s worth doing if you can.

Your marital status and the fact you are getting divorced or separating by itself should have no impact on your credit rating. However, what happens with joint credit cards and bills during your divorce or separation can impact your credit rating. For example, missed payments will probably find their way onto your credit file and reduce your credit rating.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Pay off and close any joint credit or loan accounts as soon as you can. Joint accounts and what happens to them can impact your credit rating. As soon as these are gone you will be in control of what happens to your credit rating.
  2. If you cant close a credit card or loan account talk to the product provider and see if they can block it from further use. This will help reduce the risk to your credit rating.
  3. For joint credit cards consider removing your ex-partner from the account or cancelling secondary cards.
  4. Make sure that bills continue to be paid on time. Late payment of bills can impact your credit rating. If you are communicating with your ex-partner agree on who will pay these, in advance
  5. If you need to, talk to the bank and your utility companies and ask if they have hardship arrangements (they do) that could help you avoid problems with late payments.
  6. If you cant close or block any joint accounts them check them regularly and make sure you stay across anything that happens with them. The sooner you spot anything the sooner you’ll be able to nip it in the bud.
  7. Check your credit rating. You can do this free of charge by contacting one of the credit bureaus such as Experian or Equifax

 

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This summary has been prepared by MoneyBrilliant Pty Ltd (AFSL 492711, ACL 493068). The information in this summary is of a factual nature only. We are not suggesting or recommending that you take any particular course of action in relation to any financial product or service. It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. If you need financial advice or taxation advice you should seek advice from a licensed financial adviser or tax agent. You may also be able to access additional information from the websites of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the relevant product providers.

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