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Steps for protecting credit scores during Maryland divorce

After a divorce, some Maryland individuals may find themselves wondering what steps they can take to set themselves up for financial success moving forward. Certain former spouses may also want to know the best method they can use to protect their credit from any potential hits after a divorce. While some marriages end amicably, others could leave one spouse worried that another may do something that could hurt their credit standing.

Whatever an individual's concern, there are steps that can be taken to decrease this risk. One easy step is for a spouse going through divorce to immediately request a credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus in order to be informed on the current standing of the couple's credit. Spouses can particularly pay attention to which debts have their specific names on them. In cases where a joint debt is not recognized by one spouse, the other may wish to open a conversation asking about that debt in order to gain further clarification.

Another easy step is to immediately remove the other spouse as an authorized user from accounts that aren't joint, but permission has been granted to the other party to use. Such spouses may wish to request that the other person remove them from their own individual accounts, as well. All joint accounts should likely be separated, as well, in order to avoid potential complications while a divorce is ongoing. In particularly contentious divorces, a worried spouse may wish to take the step of freezing their credit in order to prevent the other spouse from opening any accounts in their name.

Additionally, Maryland residents will likely wish to have it clearly delineated which spouse is responsible for which debt before a divorce decree is finalized. Going forward, it can be helpful to monitor the debts that the other spouse is responsible for, just to be sure that the non-responsible spouse's credit doesn't take an unexpected nosedive. These steps may not be all-inclusive, but they can provide some useful strategies for couples who are researching their financial options before, during or even after a divorce.

Source:, "How to Protect Your Credit During a Divorce," Abby Hayes, March 24, 2013

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