When you start the divorce process in New Jersey, you might want to take steps to protect your credit. Otherwise, your spouse’s use of the joint accounts will continue to affect your credit score.
Close joint credit accounts
You may close all joint credit accounts to have peace of mind that your spouse won’t go on a spending spree or engage in other irresponsible behavior. However, the law usually holds both people in a marriage responsible for debts. Another issue is that credit bureaus adjust both spouses’ credit scores for joint accounts.
Send a formal statement to creditors
You could take things a step further by mailing a certified letter to your creditors that informs them of your pending divorce. Declare that you have closed your joint accounts and will no longer be responsible for your spouse’s credit after the date of the letter.
If you added your spouse to one of your accounts, you could revoke their authorization. You would do this through certified mail.
Change your passwords and PINs
A detail that might have slipped your mind is changing your passwords and PINs. If your spouse ever had access to this information, you might want to change it.
Monitor joint accounts and your credit
If you come across an account that you can’t close before the finalization of your divorce, then you could request monthly statements. This would allow you to monitor the account activity for misuse. In addition, you could bring up any malicious or irresponsible behavior in court.
Monitoring your credit for a while after the divorce would help you catch identity theft if it occurs. Of course, it’s unlikely for someone to steal their spouse’s identity, but you might want to stay aware of what goes on with your credit for a while.
Divorce could affect people in unexpected ways. For example, someone might engage in vindictive behavior or fall into a deep depression that causes them not to realize their poor financial decisions. You may want to take steps to protect your credit as soon as your divorce process begins.