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Does divorce affect your credit rating in the UK?

No, getting divorced does not directly affect your credit rating in the UK. Your marital status is not mentioned on your credit report nor a factor considered in calculating your credit score.

However, divorce can indirectly impact your credit score in a few ways:

  • If you had joint credit accounts with your ex-spouse, such as a mortgage or joint loans, you are both legally responsible for the debt. If your ex-spouse stops making payments, it can negatively impact your credit score, even after the divorce.
  • You may need to update your details like name and address on your credit accounts after a divorce, especially if you change your last name or live separately.
  • Divorce can be financially stressful, making it harder to keep up with debt payments. Any missed or late fees will hurt your credit score.

How to protect my credit score during a divorce?

Divorce is challenging enough as it is. You don’t need to add “damaged credit score” to the list of things to be concerned about.

To protect your credit score during a divorce, follow these steps:

  • Get your credit report from all three credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
  • See which accounts are joint, and what are your shared debts.
  • Close joint accounts as soon as possible.
  • Tell card issuers and lenders about your marital status change, and work with them to close joint accounts or transfer debts to individual accounts.
  • Prioritize paying off joint debts.
  • Remove any financial associations with your ex-spouse;
  • Finally, consider a credit freeze. Some ex-spouses can act irresponsibly or even try to abuse you. Freezing your credit report can prevent them from opening accounts with your approval.

This way, you can protect your credit score both during and after a divorce and ensure that you’re in the best financial shape when you emerge from it.

How to remove my ex-spouse from a joint credit account?

To remove a spouse from a joint credit card account, follow these steps:

  • Pay off the balance before trying to close the account.
  • If the joint credit card earns rewards, redeem them before closing the account.
  • If you can’t pay off the balance immediately, consider transferring the remaining amount to a balance transfer credit card in your name. Many will also give you 0% interest rates to repay the debt.
  • Once the balance is paid off and rewards are redeemed, call your credit card issuer to inform them that you want to close the joint card account.
  • Check your credit report and verify that the joint account no longer appears.

These steps are the same if you want to close any other credit account, not just a credit card. The only difference is that you won’t have to worry about rewards or transferring the balance to a balance transfer card.

For example, if you want to close a joint mortgage, you’ll still need to pay the mortgage in full. The only other option is to transfer the mortgage only to your name – but you’ll need to work with your ex-spouse on this, as you’ll need their approval. You might also have to compensate them for the equity they’ve already built – the piece of the home they already own.

How to remove an ex-spouse from my credit report?

Just because you removed your spouse from a joint credit account doesn’t mean you're done. Your spouse is still visible on your credit report and can still influence your credit rating.

This is how you remove an ex-spouse from your credit report:

  • Close shared accounts first: as mentioned before, either pay off any outstanding balances or transfer balances to an individual account in your name or theirs.
  • Contact the credit reference agencies and request that your ex-spouse's name be removed from your credit report. This is done through a Notice of Disassociation.
  • Check your credit report and ensure the financial link to your ex-spouse has been removed successfully. Any leftover links can affect how lenders see you.

This process may take a few weeks, depending on each credit reference agency and which documents you provided. Regardless, once it’s done you can breathe: your ex-spouse is wholly removed from your credit report and won’t be able to take credit in your name or influence your credit score.

If your ex-spouse damaged your credit score and you want to repair it, consider a credit-building app like Wollit.

Wollit reports your monthly fixed subscription fee as a loan repayment to the credit reference agencies, building (or rebuilding) your credit history over time and helping you improve your credit score to be in the best financial position after your divorce.

Wollit, no stress, no hassle - just a clear path to better credit

Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.

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Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.