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How to salvage your credit while dumping your ex

If you are in the midst of a divorce, it's vital to protect your credit, as you will need it going forth on your own. A good place to start is examining the joint debts that have accrued during the marriage.

If you even have an inkling that your soon-to-be-ex will open accounts in your name, register with a credit monitoring service so you will get an immediate notification if your credit history changes.

When possible, close out joint accounts without a balance. You'll need to go in person or call your financial institution to request that the account be closed. Make sure they understand that you will no longer be responsible for additional charges going forward. Then put it in writing and make a copy for your records.

Some accounts can't be closed when they still carry a balance, but they can be frozen so that future charges are denied. Do this on accounts that must remain open.

If the two of you shared any joint checking or savings accounts during your marriage, these will need to be closed. As marital assets, it's easiest to split the total between you.

Your next move is to establish credit in your name only. It might be easier to do so while you are still married, so apply for a credit card while you can. Some companies offer cards of options with no annual fees for applicants with less-than-stellar credit scores, so it's best to shop around.

The end of a marriage comes with many challenges, most of which are better faced with your credit rating still intact. If you have more complex financial needs to address, your family law attorney may be able to recommend a financial planner to get you back on track.

Source: Woman's Divorce, "Protecting Your Credit During Divorce," Tracy Achen, accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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