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Divorce linked to credit-score boosts

Most Web browsers are used to the smorgasbord of online ads for ways to boost a credit score. For married couples in Colorado, it may come as a surprise that statistics have shown that one way to boost credit scores may be to get a divorce. About 30 percent of respondents to a survey of post-divorce credit scores said they saw their scores improve considerably. The survey documented the responses of 526 divorced people. It was not a nationally representative study, but it covered individuals of different incomes, educational backgrounds, ages and locations.

In the study, those whose credit scores were lowered after marriage were more likely to say that financial issues contributed to the dissolution of the marriage. Discussing finances before marriage didn't appear to have much of an impact on credit scores, and both those who took an active role in finances and those who largely avoided money matters were equally likely to report a credit increase after divorce.

The study uncovered a few basic reasons for changing of credit during marriage. The opening of joint versus keeping separate accounts was a prominent one. Living in a common property state (i.e., a state where one spouse can be held accountable for a mortgage opened in the other's name) also impacted the change of credit scores with marital status. A notable result of the study was that people who had credit scores drop after divorce tended to say that financial issue contributed to the marriage's downfall.

For an individual going through a divorce, seeking the guidance of a family law attorney can be valuable as a guide to the financial intricacies of separating a marriage. Attorneys with experience in divorce and financial law may be able to help a divorcee whose credit has been adversely affected due to to marriage.

Source: Market Watch, "Want to boost your credit score? Get divorced", Christine DiGangi, February 13, 2014

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