Ask Money

Can I ditch debt from my divorce?

Marketplace Staff Aug 5, 2013


I am going through a drawn-out divorce and my soon-to-be-ex-spouse is residing in our house but is not making mortgage payments. I pay rent and utilities so cannot afford a second mortgage on top of this. I do not think she is in a position to refinance on her own. I also have student loans that I pay on time (now), and recently got one credit card to start re-building my credit. My credit score is currently below 600 and continues to be affected by the defaulted mortgage. Aside from pushing the divorce through, is there anything else I can do to accelerate the re-building of my credit?


Carmen Wong Ulrich Aug 5, 2013 Former Host
Divorce is bad enough itself without having to endure so much drama when it comes to your credit.  This is a tough spot to try to rebuild your credit because until the mortgage and home is settled, it will continue to be a weight dragging you down.  Is your ex going to get the house in the divorce and therefore the mortgage?  Or will she need to move and will you then sell?   

A mortgage plays a hefty front-and-center role in your credit reports.  Work at getting this resolved.  You may need to sell the house, though I hope we’re not talking about an ex plus your children here.  I’m assuming it’s just the two of you.  Once the mortgage is taken care of either with a sale or she gets the home (and the mortgage!), just keep doing what you’re doing. Pay your other bills on time every time and gently use your new card for some basic expenses, never carrying a balance.  

Legally, you own the home and can do with it what you want.  However, when it comes to marriage and relationships, we rarely do only what’s best legally or financially.  Weigh not only the financial costs of every decision that you make in this time, but the personal ones as well.  Good luck.

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