770 to 670 – Rebuilding a Credit Score After Divorce

Probably one of the last things on many people’s minds while going through a divorce is their credit score.  Unfortunately, a divorce can have an impact on one’s credit in certain situations. So what can you do if your credit score takes a hit after divorce?  A reader wrote in with this question:

I had a credit score of 770 two years ago. Then I went through a divorce.  I had a mortgage that I transferred to my ex-husband and moved out.  I did not have many credit cards in my name — probably one or two. I had to open other bank accounts and 2-3 more credit cards.

I also opened some store credit cards like Express, Limited, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret. My ex-husband also closed lot of cards that I held as an authorized user.  Now my score is 670. What has caused this? Was it because he closed his accounts (that I was added onto) or because I opened the store credit cards?  If the retail credit cards were the problem, should I close them slowly, or just let them sit and not use them at all?

I need to improve my credit score so that I can buy a house.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused your score to decrease over the two year period as a lot of different activity could have taken place that had an impact.

Based on the information you shared, it appears there have been substantial changes regarding your revolving credit.  There have been a number of accounts closed, and quite a few opened, at the same time. The build up of a lot of credit will have a negative impact on the score, as well as changes in your revolving utilization.

The best advice to rebuild the score over time going forward:

  • Refrain from opening new credit cards (or any other credit for that matter)
  • Do not close any more credit cards
  • Pay off any low balance cards first
  • Keep balances as low as you can on your credit cards
  • Pay all your credit obligations as agreed and on time

Monitor your credit scores to see how they build over time, and hopefully you will be able to qualify for a mortgage in the not-too-distant future.

Good Luck!

Image: RichardBowen, via Flickr

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