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How can a California divorce affect my credit?

If you are contemplating getting a divorce from your husband or wife, you may be wondering how a divorce would affect your finances. Since a married couples' finances are usually combined, the process of divorce would effectively take all marital property and divide it between the spouses. This process is called property division and it can seem a daunting proposition. However, property division is necessary and is a big part of the transition from 'we' to 'me'.

A credit score is a number given to each person to gauge their financial 'health'. Credit scores can determine interest rates on potential credit cards or loans. It can even determine whether or not you get approved on an auto loan or a rent application. So, it is natural that one would wonder if a divorce could impact their credit. California is a community property state, so it is possible that a person's credit could be impacted, especially if you or your spouse make any big financial decisions just prior to, or during, the divorce process.

If you are unsure where to start looking for personal financial information, start with any bank accounts you or your spouse have. These can show the current valuation and also any connections or payments to other financial accounts you or your spouse may have. A full investigation into financial accounts can tell you everything you may want to know, and more. Assets may be frozen during divorce proceedings so one may or may not be able to make big financial decisions during the process.

There isn't a clear cut answer as to how a divorce may affect a person's credit. This is because personal financial decisions between you and your spouse tend to have the biggest effect on a person's credit. It's possible that a divorce could have a large impact on a person's credit or maybe none at all. Certainly, the financial outlook on one's assets and liabilities can look much different after a divorce. This can include one's credit.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce," Accessed January 16, 2017

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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