I’m thinking of a divorce. How can I raise my credit score?

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Q. I’m married and we have several credit cards together and we’re also together on a mortgage. I want to make sure I have a solid score in case we get a divorce, which I’m considering. What can I do?
— Trying to plan

A. Having a solid credit score is always smart, and if you’re going into a new situation — life as a divorced person — you’ll certainly want to be on solid footing with your credit.

The steps to boost your credit score in this situation is the same as any other situation.

First, order your credit report to make sure you understand what credit you have in your name, with or without your spouse. Make sure there are no mistakes, and if there are, take the steps to correct them.

Next, look closely at the credit cards you said are in both of your names. Being an authorized user is not the same as being a primary borrower on an account. While it can ding your credit score to open new credit, if you don’t have anything in your name alone, consider doing it while your financial situation is stable.

One of the most important issues with a credit score is paying on time. Make sure you do that, even if you can’t pay the minimum, and then do the best you can to keep your balances low.

If you do divorce, you’ll want to remove your name from any joint credit accounts because you’d be equally responsible for any debt your spouse charges.

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This story was originally published in July 2024.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.