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How to protect your money and credit score after the breakdown of a relationship
When a relationship breaks down, the last thing you will be thinking about is your credit score. Whether you are married, own a house together or you both simply just rent an apartment, you should take steps to protect your money and your credit score.
Last year, an article was published stating the negative affects an ex-partner can have on your finances with over 2 million people suffering financially after a break up. The uSwitch study featured in that article revealed exes are running up huge debts which both parties end up being jointly responsible for.
Examples include ex’s running up huge credit card bills on your card which you will be responsible for, going over your joint account overdraft, defaulting on your mortgage or going on a shopping spree on your joint online shopping account.
The findings shed light on Brits who are not taking sensible precautions with their money as 1 in 5 people asked said they had no idea of their partner’s financial history before opening a join account with them. When you sign up to a joint financial product with your partner, it has an effect on your credit score as well as your finances.
It may not be the best or most exciting thing to discuss as a couple, and Brits are notoriously bad for this, but money and finances should be discussed. It is important to be aware of any bad debts, their financial history or marks on your partner’s credit file so you can see how this may affect you now and in the future.
There are precautions you can take to protect your money and your credit score when the relationship with your partner comes to an end. If the split with your partner was amicable and you are still on good terms, you can:
- Discuss with your ex-partner any joint financial products you have together and how you are going to deal with them.
- If you have a credit card or a loan together, you should pay it off in full clearing the debt and close it down.
- With mortgages, you should discuss this together with your mortgage advisor about the best practice to deal repayments and any other issues going forward.
However, if the situation between you and your ex-partner is more hostile and/or things cannot be agreed upon. It is in your interests to:
- Get a solicitor involved to liaise on your behalf or see an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) to talk through your options.
- Have you shared your PIN number or password details for any personal accounts with your partner? If you have, change them as soon as possible so they cannot gain access anymore.
- When you take out a financial product with someone, credit agencies will automatically link you together. After splitting from your partner, you should inform the major credit agencies of your disassociation from them, especially if you close the account in question.
- Regularly check your credit report for any irregularities particularly when they are associated to your partner.
Whether your split with your partner is on good terms or not, you should still be aware of how volatile the financial situation could become between the two of you. If you are not careful and don’t take appropriate precautions, the financial effects of your break up can last a lot longer than emotional effects.
When an ex chooses to run up debts in your name, it can take you months or years to clear the debt and get your credit score back on track. This doesn’t just affect the amount of money you have to live on month to month, but it could affect your opportunities later in life such as mortgage approvals or paying for big future expenses like weddings and children with a new partner.