San Diego, CA - 'The number
of American couples going through a divorce or legal
separation in America is unprecedented. Also, people
involved, both females and males, are making unwise
decisions about shared finances and other assets that may
harm their credit rating now and in the future, perhaps
for as long as 20 or 30 years,' says the nonprofit
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) an award
winning, education foundation based in San Diego, CA.
Since 1982, the ICFE has been helping consumers of all
ages improve their spending Practices and habits, increase
their savings accumulation and use credit more wisely.
Even if you are just thinking about separation or a
divorce in the future, financially speaking, it is time to
begin thinking like a single person. For some childless,
houseless couples, it's 'till debt do us part' and
separating things may be relatively easy. For those with
children, however, and/or real estate, it is much
different. There may be months of meetings with lawyers on
both sides negotiating the differences. Also, in addition
to new and increased financial obligations as the divorce
approaches, there are new buzzwords and phases to learn
the true meaning of, like 'child support' and '100% liable
for debts and bills.'
No matter the circumstances of separation or dissolution
of a marriage, many decisions have to be made which will
immediately and directly affect the credit ratings and
scores of both parties. Among them are separating shared
bank accounts, shared credit card accounts, shared
insurance coverage, establishing utilities in your own
name, changing the guarantors of motor vehicle loans and
the titles to those vehicles, in addition to real estate
mortgages and ownership in real estate, among many others.
Neither party should fall for the line '100% liable for
debts and bills' because unless your creditors agree to
it, they won't let you off the hook. Further, if you do
allow your former mate to '100% liable for debts and
bills' and payments, even ordered by the court are not
made in a timely manner, guess what? It's your credit
rating and score that may be harmed, not necessarily
theirs. Putting off separating jointly held checking,
savings and credit card accounts now, may preclude you
from getting credit on your own in the future.
It's usually women who suffer the most financially in a
separation or divorce because they are often unemployed or
on a fixed income and have little or no savings of their
own. Because of their financial situation, they often
allow their ex-spouse to assume the insurance, mortgage or
car payments, thinking they are financially off the hook.
Not necessarily so. Here is an example. At the time of
divorce, the mortgage had 25 years remaining and one party
kept the house and has made the payments on time. Now the
other party, 15 years later, wants to purchase their own
home and was denied a mortgage because they are a signor
on the mortgage with a former spouse, who can't afford to
refinance that mortgage. So the wanna be home buyer is
stuck. This typical situation may be avoided at the time
of divorce by requiring the party who wants to keep real
estate to refinance it. Otherwise put it on the market and
pay off your mortgage obligation. Do the same with motor
vehicles, if one cannot afford to refinance it, then sell
them and pay off your loan obligations.
Take some steps to protect yourself if you are
contemplating separation or divorce.
1) Learn what lenders see in your credit report by
ordering a copy today either on-line or by phone to the
three major credit reporting agencies: Experian
(1-888-397-3742), Equifax (1-800-685-1111) or TransUnion
2) Begin to separate and/or close out shared and joint
accounts, including checking, savings, IRA's and charge
cards, doctors and dentists, health care and life
insurance. Also motor vehicle loans, real estate mortgages
and student loans, etc. Some separation of car loans or
home mortgages may require refinancing or an outright sale
in order to pay off your loan obligations.
3) Make all your payments ahead of the due date. Missing
or being late on a payment, even to the phone company, a
book or music club, can be very costly if it makes it on
to your credit report. It may be much more than a $30 or
$40 late payment fee, because of a clause that may be in
your credit card or other loan agreements known as
'universal default.' In essence, it stipulates if you are
late on one account you are late on this one too. It may
also trigger much higher fees and interest charges and it
will also lower credit scores. Prevention is easy. Pay all
your own monthly obligations, at least a week or more
ahead of the payment due date.
The ICFE Resource Center (www.financial-education-icfe.org)
has three books covering divorce and finances.
1) Stop Fighting About Money (And start making it work for
2) Fair Share Divorce for Women $20.
3) Divorce and Money $35.
If you are experiencing difficulty with your credit record
or making all of your payments on time, there is help
available on spending, credit reports, credit scoring and
credit repair from the ICFE online at
To receive the same information by mail, please send $1
and a 60 cent SASE to: ICFE PO box 34070, San Diego, CA
92163 and request the specific information you want to
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), founded in 1982 by the
late Loren Dunton (creator of the 'certified financial planner' (CFP)
designation) and it is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve
their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. The ICFE trains and
certifies Personal Finance Instructors for its own curriculum. It also trains
and certifies Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that
has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, now in its 16th
printing and has distributed over one million 'Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels'
and 'Credit/Debit Card Sleeves' world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial
Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.
The ICFE is also a partner in the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial
Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active
with San Diego Saves, an offshoot of America Saves, and the California Student
Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) (studentdebthelp.org).
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much was featured in PARADE
Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from
'The Money Instruction Book,' a course in personal finance, positioned to become
among the premier programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education
The ICFE Web site at:
www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
videos and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a free
eNews, and an online resource center of financial education learning
tools, including videos, books, software and personal finance courses.