Ending a marriage in Virginia can be a lengthy process as the two former spouses untangle their joint finances. Missing payments on shared credit accounts during a divorce often reduces the credit scores for the two people, but they can take steps to reduce damage to their credit histories.
People in this situation need to request credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. These reports will list all accounts attached to a person, including those held jointly with a spouse. After identifying all shared credit accounts, a person can get to work resolving and closing them.
Credit accounts with zero balances are the easiest to close. The two divorcing spouses can contact the creditor and close the accounts without worrying about having to divide an existing debt. If any reward points are available, they should redeem them and split them.
For joint credit accounts with balances, the two parties need to document their agreement for paying debt off. They may agree to divide the debt or refinance it onto a single user credit card. People sometimes choose to pay off a debt on their own instead of relying on a former partner to do it.
Taking action to close joint accounts protects people from the chance that a former spouse will charge up a bunch of debts; a divorce does not automatically remove liability for a shared debt. An attorney who practices family law may provide additional guidance on separating finances during divorce. A person who needs help getting an ex-spouse to disclose all finances might benefit from legal representation as well. Their attorney might manage an investigation meant to uncover all financial statements so that the division of property may proceed with all information on the table.