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Can a divorce destroy your credit score?

If you are like many Americans, you keep close tabs on your credit score. After all, your credit score matters when you apply for loans, rent an apartment and even compete for certain jobs. According to Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, a good credit score is one that falls between 670 and 739.

As you probably know, certain things can cause your credit score to plummet. By itself, divorce is not one of them. That is, your divorce will not appear anywhere on your credit report. Still, certain divorce-related things can force your personal credit rating to drop.

Your joint accounts

For most couples, marriage is a joint financial enterprise. Indeed, it is not uncommon for spouses to have joint credit card accounts, mortgages, car loans and other lines of credit. If you have any of these with your current spouse, the account likely will remain on your credit report during and after your divorce.

If your future ex-spouse misses payments, defaults can affect your credit score. Therefore, during your divorce, it is imperative to deal with joint accounts. To protect yourself, it may be necessary to close the accounts or otherwise remove your spouse’s name from them.

Your proactive efforts

Your divorce can give you the opportunity to be proactive with your credit score. While closing joint accounts may cause your credit score to fall temporarily, it should rebound. Furthermore, you can decrease your debt-to-income and credit utilization ratios. Each of these actions should improve your credit score.

Ultimately, to ensure you do not lose control of your credit score during your divorce, it is advisable to review your credit report regularly.