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Tips on improving credit before and after a divorce

Many Missouri couples have amassed a significant volume of wealth within their marriage and are in a good position to divide their marital assets during a divorce. That said, there are many cases in which one or both spouses have neglected to develop or maintain a positive credit history. Failure to have good credit can lead to a wide range of problems after a divorce, including difficulty opening new lines of credit and even problems finding a new job.

It is important for spouses to gain an understanding of their personal credit scenario prior to initiating a divorce. This begins with gathering one’s credit report from all three credit bureaus and checking for errors or omissions. Any information that is missing or has been improperly reported can be challenged directly with the bureau, and most errors are easily corrected.

Next, spouses should ensure that they establish a credit history in their own name. This can be accomplished by opening a line of credit and using that account responsibly. Over time, those efforts will be rewarded by an increase in credit scoring.

It is also important to manage joint accounts responsibly. In order to close a joint account, it is usually necessary to pay off the total amount owed. If that is not possible, spouses should consider placing a freeze on the account, which will prevent either party from running up new debt before the divorce is made final.

No matter what level of wealth a couple is dividing within a divorce, having good credit is essential. By taking the steps outlined above, Missouri spouses can begin building a credit history that will serve them well for many years to come. Addressing this issue is also a great way to establish a feeling of control and progress during what can be a difficult time, and giving spouses the chance to focus on building a better future, rather than focusing solely on the past.

Source:, “10 Financial Moves That Keep You Sane During a Divorce“, Marilyn Lewis, July 23, 2015