Divorce doesn’t directly affect your credit score, because your credit score doesn’t rely on your marital status. However, a divorce can impact your credit score.
Learning how the indirect effects of divorce can bring down your credit score allows you to navigate the waters in advance so you can retain your credit rating and continue to make purchases.
6 ways divorce can impact your credit score.
Your Ex-Spouse Doesn’t Pay Your Joint Bills
If you have any joint credit accounts with your ex-spouse, such as credit cards, car notes or a mortgage, someone has to pay these expenses. If the judge in your divorce case rules that your ex-spouse has to pay certain bills after the divorce, it’s important that you make sure that they do. If your ex-spouse isn’t so worried about his or her credit, then they may not have an incentive to pay unsecured bills or even bills that are secured with assets that belong to you.
Whoever has their name on the account will be responsible for payments of the bills. If they are in both names and don’t get paid, then both parties’ credit scores are at risk of being lowered. The solution is to be on decent speaking terms so you know if the other party is paying their portion of the bills.
If you are not on good terms, the option for you is to pay both parties’ portion of the bills no matter who is responsible for them according to your divorce agreement. You can try to recover the money by reporting your ex-spouse’s nonpayment to the court. You just don’t want it to have a negative effect on your credit score.
Non-Disclosure of Debt
During the divorce process, both parties are required to disclose all of their financial accounts. Some people are not forthcoming about their finances and assets. You can run a credit report for yourself to ensure you are aware of every account that has your name on it. Sometimes a spouse will put your name on an account you are unaware of and then you will also be responsible for payments.
You are Unable to Pay Your Bills
If you went through a messy divorce, you likely have spent a large amount of money on an attorney. If your spouse was the source of primary income in your marriage, you may now have trouble paying the bills by yourself. This can lead to late payments on your part or high credit usage to pay bills with your credit cards. The most important item that makes up your credit score is your payment history and even anything less than perfect on-time payments of even 99 percent may hurt your credit score. If you can’t pay your bills, your credit score will likely decrease.
On the other hand, if you are using your credit cards because of lack of income, then you can be using too much of your credit. Using any balance to limit ratio over 30 percent can decrease your score and limit your financial options for the future.
You can free up more cash to put toward your bills by increasing your income or decreasing your spending. The best scenario is to do both simultaneously. To earn more money, you can seek a higher paying job or work overtime, take a second part-time job or freelance in your spare time. You can cut spending by cutting back on cable fees or subscription costs and limit your personal care and restaurant spending. Do you really need a $5 cup of Starbucks each day? You get to decide which areas you are most willing to give up discretionary spending.
A Vindictive Ex-Spouse
Many marriages end on a sour note and a spouse can be vindictive. If there is a lot of drama and your ex-spouse is angry and has access to your credit accounts, they may decide to use your accounts and rack up phenomenal debt in your name. This is common when you get a credit account in your name only, based on your credit rating and allow your spouse to be an authorized user of the account. If this happens, you may not be able to pay the bills for your credit accounts or credit cards and it can severely hurt your credit score.
The best solution to this predicament is to remove each other from all individual credit cards or credit accounts as soon as possible–even better if you are able to do this before the divorce is finalized.
Decreased Credit Limits
Many creditors and lenders will check on their clients at regular intervals to see if they have a change in their income level. Most credit card agreements have a statement that your credit limits can be decreased at their discretion. If one spouse made a significantly more amount of money and the credit accounts are separated, a creditor can choose to low the credit limit for one or both parties. This can affect your credit score and your ability to get more credit.
Refinancing the Home
In order to get the marital home into one ex-spouse’s name, most lenders will require that your mortgage is refinanced using only the one spouse’s credit. This can put a great strain on the spouse that is awarded the home if they can’t make the payments easily and it can potentially add a lot of debt for them too.
The best idea is to try to be amicable with your ex-spouse. Let’s face it; sometimes a household bill will go unpaid as an oversight during the divorce proceedings. Each party should communicate with each other over the shared financial responsibilities in order to work together and ensure that everyone’s credit remains in good standing.
Whilst I do not want to give any time or credit to someone who believes alienating their children from a parent is appropriate I do think it is important we understand the motivation behind the behaviour and the impact it has on them.
Firstly nothing you did made them chose this path. No matter what they tell you. This was always in their game plan, you just weren’t looking for the clues. They will tell you that it’s because you did x,y or z but the reality is that it’s part of their character and would have come out sooner or later anyway.
(Stage one and two of this process are talking about women alienators only, simply because of the subject matter. Stage three onwards is gender neutral. This is all based on real life case studies which i have undertaken with both men and women)
So many alienated parents are crippled with guilt over something they did and believe that if they had done things differently, they would be reasonable and the kids would not be suffering . NEWSFLASH. It is the alienating parent who is at fault NOT YOU. Please believe that.
Many alienators have this as their game plan all along. They decided when they met you that they needed you because you met their needs – you gave them status or you were easy to manipulate or both. But deep down they knew that you were “out of their league” so they concluded that whilst you may not love them and therefore leave them, you would love your child and be very reluctant to leave them especially if the threat of losing them should you ever dare to leave was planted in your head.
STAGE ONE – ATTACHMENT
Things would have moved really quickly. Moving in, getting pregnant etc. Often without much agreement from the yout. You may even have been breaking up when they got pregnant. You could even have been raped (men and women). However it happened this was stage one of their plan. Keep you in a relationship with them by giving you a relationship with the child. At this point some of their plan will have been revealed if you knew what you were looking for. They perhaps would have spoken about how they would graciously “allow” you to see your child as often as you like. You are the father. It’s not about allowing. It’s about being right and necessary for the child. But by using the term “allow” they are revealing their view on the power differential and already acting as a gatekeeper.
The attachment is insecure and based on fear. Their subsequent behaviour will come from this place.
STAGE TWO – CONTROL
Once pregnant the boundaries you tried to put in place were torn down, always with the veiled threat of not seeing your unborn child. At this point they will have you running around after them, almost slave like, as they relished their now guaranteed power over you. At this point they may have raised marriage and moving in together (if you didn’t already) or some other way to really seal the deal.
Psychologically at this point they are getting a huge amount of positive reinforcement that they made the right choice. You are attentive (of the child not her but in her eyes it’s the same thing) and the arguments have stopped (because you don’t want to cause stress to your unborn child but she takes it that you love her more now) and she keeps pushing, knowing you won’t go anywhere. They learning that they can get away with pretty much anything as long as they use the child as an excuse.
They is also developing the sense that her and the child are one and the same. You love the child therefore must love her. You want to be with the child therefore you want to be with her. This will be reinforced more once the child has arrived where the child will become a mini-me. Everything they wanted for themselves, they push their child to do. If it’s a girl, they dress them the same and model them on themselves. If it’s a boy, they will view them as a mini-me of you. This can lead to very poor boundaries and inappropriate behaviours as the children grow up. But whilst the child is small, they get lots of praise for “how gorgeous” the baby is (which the alienating parent takes to mean “I am gorgeous”) so they become tied to this tiny symbol of themselves because the attention they get makes them feel good.
As they grow up and the attention dwindles, the alienating parent may develop fabricated illness syndrome as a way to get more attention or push the child to perform so that they get lots of praise, which the alienating parent takes as being praise for themselves. Parent’s evening can reveal a lot of this behaviour.
STAGE THREE – BATTLE FOR CONTROL
Obviously though the relationship becomes more strained again as old feelings of unhappiness rear their head and you contemplate the future of the relationship. At this point, picking up on your withdrawal, you may find another pregnancy take you by surprise. This is their “insurance”.
They will start to belittle your parenting skills and begin a secret smear campaign. They will be telling others that you have “issues” and may even succeed in getting you diagnosed with a mental health problem. This is ammunition for their ultimate game plan should the relationship end.
During arguments they will use the children to “control” you and win the fight. They may even attempt to goad you into attacking them (which is wrong and is not condoned – I am simply explaining the process). This will give them more ammunition should you leave.
You won’t have any say in the parenting. They will make all decisions. They will plant the seeds of the “consequences” of you leaving them – “you’ll never see your kids again”. Your confidence will be in tatters and you will feel trapped.
Paradoxically they will feel incredibly powerful and almost god-like. They will present to everyone else as the “perfect” parent, all the while putting you down, and are keen for everyone to think you have a perfect family life and they are the perfect wife/mother. They have exactly the status they desire.
STAGE FOUR – REJECTION
As the arguments increase or the alienated parent becomes so depressed everyone starts to notice, they may decide that you can no longer meet their needs and provide them with the status they desire so they could discard you. Equally you may decide that you are so unhappy and it isn’t fair on the kids to witness the animosity that you want to leave. Either way the break-up will not be easy. It will all be your fault and even if they left you, they will tell everyone how awful you were to live with and that they had no choice. They will not accept responsibility for their actions and this will all contribute to the smear campaign they are ramping up.
At this point they will begin with their attempts to alienate you. Usually starting with gatekeeping. Telling you exactly when and where you are “allowed” to see the children and if you step out of line your privileges will be revoked. They will attempt to make the children choose at every opportunity and overshare with them about the details of your break up. There will be no emotional boundaries in place.
The alienating parent at this point is in full on survival mode and will attack to protect their status (not their children). False allegations are likely to be made and believed.
All of this feeds their view of themselves as invincible and omnipotent. They are lavished with attention whilst they play the victim and this is more positive reinforcement for them to continue with their behaviour.
STAGE FIVE – PUNISHMENT
You and the truth are a real threat to their status and so you must be removed. They will stop you and anyone associated with you from seeing the children. They do all of this under the guise of “protecting the children”. The smear campaign which they started whilst you were still in the relationship now appears to back-up their claims and no-one believes the alienated parent. This fuels their power trip and their behaviour becomes more and more outrageous. Phoning the police for every little thing. Making repeated false allegations which are quickly dismissed. Threatening you, projecting and gaslighting you with “evidence” of your abuse.
At this point many alienated parents give up. They are facing a barrage of accusations, no-one believes them and they are alienated from not only their children but also friends and society who believe the alienating parent. Add to that the financial element and the emotional toll this takes on everyone including the children and it is understandable why a parent would walk away. Of course this just proves to the alienating parent that they are all powerful and reinforces their behaviour.
The key is to fight. The alienating parent WILL trip themselves up. As their behaviour gets more outrageous, more and more people will start to question it and slowly but surely the truth begins to come out. The children need you to fight as well because you are the only parent who is concerned with their welfare. They are being abused and need you to protect them.
As the curtain finally starts to fall though, the alienating parent will panic and can become dangerous. They refuse to let anyone see the truth and therefore those who are exposing them become a target. Including the children. Their psychological state has resorted to childhood and are in fight or flight. Some will kill themselves at this point. Some will kill their children. Some will kill their ex. All in with the aim of protecting their false self.
We at NAPARRC understand this process and the real risk involved. We want to be YOUR army to fight them so come and join the Facebook group to access free support and guidance from specialists and peers www.facebook.com/groups/NAPARRC