Couples going through a divorce in Massachusetts should conduct a basic annual credit health self-assessment to protect their most valuable financial assets: their good name.
Review this infographic for tips to keeping tabs on your credit health.
- Free Credit Report: Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act consumers are entitled to access a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – once every 12 months. The three nationwide credit reporting agencies operate a single web site, AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the only authorized online source for free credit reports.
- Identity Theft: An important way to protect against identity theft is to check your credit report periodically.
- Mistakes: Credit reports can contain mistakes. While the Federal Trade Commission is currently conducting a study on the accuracy of credit reports, according to a report by the U.S. Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups, one out of four credit reports contains a serious error that can adversely impact your credit. Look for evidence of identity theft or activity that is not yours. All lenders do not necessarily report to all three credit reporting agencies, so errors may appear on one report but not on others.
- Correct Errors: To correct errors on your credit reports, contact the credit reporting agencies in writing and provide copies of the documents to support your assertion. Credit reporting agencies must investigate claims unless they consider the dispute frivolous.
- Negative Information: Information on your credit report that is accurate can only be removed with the passage of time. For example, credit delinquencies will stay on your credit report for seven years and bankruptcy information will stay on your credit report for 10 years.
- Credit Scores: These scores represent, in theory, your creditworthiness – the likelihood that you will pay your debt.
- Multiple Scores: Many of the scores calculated for and used by lenders are not available to consumers. Credit scores influence the marketing offers consumers receive. Credit scores are likely to vary based on different scoring methods and differences in the data available. Consumers unaware of the variety of scores may purchase a score believing it is their “true” score, when in reality the score that lenders see is quite different.
- Think Carefully Before Consolidating high credit card debt through a second mortgage or home equity line of credit because most credit card debt is considered “unsecured debt” while mortgages and home equity loans are “secured debts” that require you to put up your home as collateral. If you cannot make the payments on secured loans, you could lose your home.
- Credit Counseling: If you get into credit trouble, consider contacting a reputable credit counseling organization such as one offered by a university, military base, housing authority, or branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.