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Pre-Divorce Checklist

The divorce process can be long, drawn-out, and overly complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. 

At Mediation Northwest, we help Oregon couples through divorce mediation, allowing both parties to work with our experienced mediator to get a fair deal for both parties. 

Before you even get to that stage, however, there are some important steps to take to prepare for your divorce: the first of which is getting your own credit card.

What do you mean by having my “own” credit card?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s make sure you understand what we mean by your “own” credit card.

We don’t mean a jointly held credit card, or a credit card account in your spouse’s name where you are an authorized user (with a credit card with your name embossed on the physical card).

We mean having a universally accepted credit card (Visa, Mastercard) with the account in your individual name without your spouse anywhere on the account.

For pre-divorce purposes, it’s vital to have a:

  • universally accepted credit card account (Visa or Mastercard),
  • with the account held in your sole name, and
  • that your spouse is not either a card holder, an authorized user, or is a joint owner.

Why is having a credit card important for my divorce?

There are two main reasons that this is important.

  • First, the divorce process requires that we remove you as an authorized user from your spouse’s accounts, remove your spouse from your accounts, and close the jointly held accounts.

Eventually, you need to get a card in your sole name, so why not get one now while you can still use the household income (i.e. your spouse’s income) to qualify for the account? You are much more likely to qualify using your household income. Let’s take advantage of that!

  • Second, you need to prepare for the unexpected. You don’t know if your spouse’s attorney advised him/her to remove you from your spouse’s credit cards. You don’t know the future expenses you may incur. By having your own credit card in your sole name, you are in control of your future.

What if I don’t apply for a credit card until after my divorce?

Of course, setting-up an individual credit card account before your divorce is preferable, for the reasons explained above. 

But even if you are unable to create your own account until after the divorce is finalized, you should still set one up as soon as possible — you may have the same challenges as anyone establishing credit for the first time.

The biggest issue you may encounter is a lack of income to qualify for credit. In that case, you may want to start with a joint account with a co-signer, or by visiting a credit union or regional bank that might be more willing to open a credit account for someone without much credit history.

Whether you manage to create your new account before your divorce or after your divorce, take care to protect and build that credit. You never know when it could come in handy in the future.

Set up a consultation with Mediation Northwest today

For more information about the pre-divorce process, feel free to download a PDF version of our mediator’s book, “Divorce Mediation in Oregon,” or purchase it from Amazon.

If you have questions, our team is happy to talk you through the process of divorce mediation. Our goal is to help you and your spouse get through your divorce with the least amount of drama as possible, and draw up an agreement that works for both of you. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.